Recommended reading: Alexander Chee‘s essay “Against Wunderkinds.”
Leveling the kind of accusation that perhaps only such an esteemed writer can, Jonathan Franzen intimates that David Foster Wallace's nonfiction (such as "Shipping Out") wasn't exactly honest.
Appearing Elsewhere: VQR Young Reviewers Contest winner and Millions contributor Emily drops by the NBCC blog to tell them what she's been reading.The NY Times fleshes out some of the details of Google's digitizing agreement with publishers and authors, including getting into some of the numbers involved. We explained the importance of the deal last year.At Jacket Copy Carolyn Kellogg gets Sarah Weinman to discuss the secrets behind her incredible speed-reading ability. (462 books in 2008!)Carolyn also recently highlighted all the great literary magazines that supplied the featured stories in last year's "best of" fiction anthologies, as well as the runners up.80 years after the last one, a new Winnie the Pooh book is on its way.A timely and topical list: the Top 10 green books of 2008For the multi-tasker (or perhaps the really lazy): the book holder bracelet."Had I an atheist friend who asked, 'Can you tell me please what this religion business is all about, not as some metaphysical hypothesis or historical phenomenon, but what it really means to be religious?' I might hand him or her a copy of Marilynne Robinson's novel Gilead. 'Read this,' I'd say, 'and it will give you a pretty good idea.'"For sports fans: Bill James on why statisticians should boycott the BCS.That perilous question: why blog?Vice did a fiction issue.David Brooks discusses some of the best long-form journalism of 2008 (with links!)The outgoing president's surprising reading list.The Hype Machine's impressive top albums of 2008 project.Wikipedia find of the week: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffaloA consideration of poet Jack Spicer.With apologies to William Carlos Williams, A poem for Blago.New short fiction from Horacio Castellanos Moya, author of Senselessness (via Scott)Jonathan Franzen on the Social Novel (via OUP blog)
P. G. Wodehouse is enjoying a popular revival thanks in part to W. W. Norton re-releasing some of his books with nice, attention-grabbing covers. Of course the British author has long had his supporters. Among them? George Orwell. Elsewhere, The Guardian compares Wodehouse's correspondence to Ernest Hemingway's.
As part of their ongoing efforts to monopolize all kinds of waterfowl, the good folks at Penguin, headed by the editor Jonathan Bell, have dug up old covers from the company’s defunct imprint, Pelican. The Guardian set up a slideshow that lets you scroll through a selection.