Newly announced National Book Award winner Sarah M. Broom recently spoke to the new class of Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant winners about the importance of sitting with unfinished work, and an excerpt from her talk can be found in the Paris Review. “The unfinished work is no less real, or necessary, or powerful than the book,” Broom says. “How we need it, this work, these long, beautiful digressions, these surprises. May we continue to gift writers with the time for wildness. May they ramble, digress, go beyond the edges of all the known and touted maps, may they hew close to the question, to unearth the questions beyond.”
This just in! Senator Barack Obama has “palled around” with the notorious constitutionalist Richard Posner.The good folks at Hotel St. George Press interview Taryn Simon, the artist behind the brilliant Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar.Jonathan Franzen’s remembrance of David Foster Wallace is quite moving……as are the Elizabeth Bishop stanzas that conclude this sterling essay on her lifelong correspondence with Robert Lowell.Alas, the only way to offer you recollections of the late George Plimpton was to link to The Daily Beast.That long profile in Rolling Stone of DFW by David Lipsky that everyone’s been talking about is now online.Venerable fishwrap The Christian Science Monitor goes online only with its daily edition.Ten of the best circadian novels: “novels that fit all their action into a single day.”Sarah Palin and code-switchingWe may never tire of “This Is Just to Say” parodies.Our revels, not quite ended?: Royal Shakespeareans read celebrity porno dialogue (headphones recommended for those at work).Half a year late, Russia! Magazine has made its translation guide to Russian literature available online.Over at More Intelligent Life, you can find an audio interview with a Booker Prize judge.Finally, MiL‘s parent publication, The Economist makes its endorsement.
Garth, Ben, Andrew and Max appear in today’s “Digest” at The Morning News. The topic is movies based on books. Also at TMN: the Tournament of Books is underway.Readers with an interest in sales figures for books and their drawbacks should take a look at the comments of our follow-up post on the Beautiful Children free book promotion. Several anonymous commenters, whom one suspects are probably industry insiders, have shared their insights.A quick but interesting interview with Paul Theroux. This summer, Theroux’s Ghost Train to the Eastern Star will be published. In it, he retraces his path from The Great Railway Bazaar thirty years ago. (via)The National Book Critics Circle Award winners have been announced. In the fiction category, Junot Díaz took home the prize for The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao. Díaz was a part of our Year in Reading in December.The finalists have been announced for the Kiriyama Prize, which recognizes books that “relate in some significant way to the Pacific Rim or South Asia, to a particular culture or part(s) of these regions, or to people from these regions.” Among them is I Love Dollars by Zhu Wen, which was reviewed here by Ben, from which a blurb was used on the Kiriyama Prize site.The Stranger reminds us of our bookselling days, chasing those damn book thieves down the street.The Observer reports on two new bylines arriving at the New Yorker, Kelefa Sanneh and Ariel Levy of the New York Times and New York respectively. (via)Literary frauds are all over the news again, and the LA Times serves up a delightful accounting of hoaxers going all the way back to the 1700s. (via)We are all stereotypical readers: “The British buy books by television personalities, Americans are obsessed with self-improvement, French choices are more highbrow, the Germans like holidays while the Japanese have more eclectic tastes.” (via)A new issue of The Quarterly Conversation is out. Among the offerings: over- and underrated books and Sam J. Miller’s essay positing that short stories are far from dead, as some big names would have you think.Apple head honcho Steve Jobs told the New York Times in January that “people don’t read anymore.” The Raleigh Quarerly took umbrage and is now holding a contest that asks for submissions “featuring a main character named, uh, Steve, who reads something that transforms his life.”
Our own Emily St. John Mandel won one of the inaugural Indie Booksellers’ Choice Awards yesterday for her novel The Singer’s Gun. The other honorees for this award, which was voted on by indie booksellers around the country, were Paolo Bacigalupi for The Windup Girl, Adam Levin for The Instructions, Karl Marlantes for Matterhorn, and Nina Revoyr for Wingshooters.