Slate corrects an oversight to Sarah Palin’s otherwise impeccably edited memoir: no index. Theirs runs from “Alaska, autumn bouquet of” (page 1) to “‘you betcha’ – revelation of as not actually Alaska’s state motto” (page 309), and includes such helpful detours as “exclamation point, usage of” (pages 4, 26, 120, 121, 122, 138, 150…) You almost – almost – don’t have to read the book.
Tim Parks writes for the NYRB about writers living abroad. As he puts it, “But what about those writers who move to another country and do not change language, who continue to write in their mother tongue many years after it has ceased to be the language of daily conversation? Do the words they use grow arid and stiff? Or is there an advantage in being away from what is perhaps only the flavor of the day at home, the expressions invented today and gone tomorrow? Then, beyond specifically linguistic concerns, what audience do you write toward if you are no longer regularly speaking to people who use your language?” Pair with Hannah Gersen’s Millions piece on reading the English translation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s In Other Words.
“As everyday existence becomes more punitive for all but the monied few, more and more frustrated, volatile individuals will seek each other out online, aggravate whatever lethal fairy tale suits their pathology, and, ultimately, transfer their rage from the screen world to the real one.” Gary Indiana reviews Masha Gessen’s The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy for the London Review of Books.
“Proulx’s deep reverence for the beauty and complexities of rural America has introduced millions of readers to the wide breadth of American life. Her commitment to crafting compassionate, honest stories has left an indelible mark on literature and created a powerful and enduring legacy.” Annie Proulx nabs the National Book Foundation’s lifetime achievement award. Check out her Year-in-Reading entry from this past year here.
The Walking Tour is drawing ever nearer! Get all the details and RSVP if you want to be notified of any schedule changes.In the NYRB, Mark Danner examines the politics of torture, and J.M. Coetzee gets deep inside Samuel Beckett’s head.James Wood finger-drumming on YouTube is just the most weirdly hypnotic thing we’ve ever seen.Typewriter-part art. (via The Rumpus)A new front runner in the coolest bookshelf contest. Think of it – geographic classification! (for American lit only)”Geoff Dyer book unlikely to win Bad Sex Award“Jane Austen got rejection letters too.Wow. A new Kurt Vonnegut collection is on the way. Amazon has it listed.A glimmer of good news in the newspaper business?Audrey Niffenegger is having a pretty good recession.Further Reading: Kevin’s list of families and fiction has garnered many additions from readers in the comments.