“We editors told ourselves the naked women were merely carnival barkers: they got an audience into the tent, but we kept them with the content.” In the Guardian, Playboy‘s former fiction editor Amy Grace Loyd reveals what it was like to work at the magazine and how she commissioned work from writers like Donna Tartt, Margaret Atwood, and Junot Díaz. Read our review of Loyd’s debut novel, The Affairs of Others.
VIDA, an organization that promotes gender parity in the literary arts, has tallied up the 2011 bylines and book reviews from some of the bigger magazines . Granta was the only publication to achieve parity, but they did have an issue devoted entirely to feminism, so that may be skewing the numbers. The Atlantic, The London Review of Books, and Harper's are not making the cut. While institutionalized misogyny in any profession presents a problem, gender quotas are probably not the answer.
It's fitting in a weird sort of way that this article, which illustrates the unravelling of Truman Capote’s career, has quotes from two characters named Slim Keith and Babe Paley. Back in 1988, Gerald Clarke covered the story from a slightly different angle.
Colson Whitehead says "Wow, Fiction Works!"The LA Times has a clip from the movie version of David Foster Wallace's Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, directed by The Office star John Krasinski. (via)Carolyn writes about the real-life connection between Walker Percy and Bruce Springsteen.The Village Voice shows off the final results of its highly scientific system of determining New Yorker cartoonists' batting averages.Cambridge Information Group, which owns Bowker, AquaBrowser, ProQuest, Serials Solutions and RefWorks makes an investment in LibraryThing.Vote in The 2009 Tournament of Books Zombie Poll.A book that has turned out to be so wrong it has become a collectors item (check out the prices): The Bush Boom: How a Misunderestimated President Fixed a Broken Economy
James Salter reviews Paul Hendrickson's Hemingway's Boat for The New York Review of Books. Relatedly, Helena Price has been using 1000memories to compile "memory pages" to "explore the life of Ernest Hemingway as well as his friends and family." Of particular note is this poster imploring us to "Live the HemingWAY." Also related, The Paris Review shares a letter from Papa to his sister Ursala Hemingway.
"I wanted to be able to approach the subject from many different angles, not just the one most people think of when they think of war: an infantryman with a rifle killing the enemy. What does one make of one’s moral responsibility for killing when you’re part of a crew-fired-weapon whose rounds strike miles away, when you’re not even sure if you have killed people or how many? What about when you’re a chaplain trying to influence policy, or a psychological operations soldier trying to help shape the battlefield?" Phil Klay, author of the National Book Award-winning collection Redeployment, on modes of storytelling and on the psychological difference between citizens and veterans.
In which Jami Attenberg (whose forthcoming The Middlesteins made it to our big 2012 second half books preview) discusses the outright mockery of Jeffrey Eugenides's pseudo-famous vest in the web advertising campaign (which--full disclosure--also ran on The Millions) for Jennifer Weiner's The Next Best Thing: "Hit Me with Your Vest Shot."