Little Things

While Harper’s doesn’t put everything online, it turns out they do put a fair amount of things from the Readings section at the front of the magazine up. (And let’s be honest: isn’t that the best part of Harper’s? It ‘s always been my favorite.) Some Nigerians believe phone calls are killing people. The customs of the Waorani tribe of Ecuador. The devil’s edict. A series of escalating emails between Judd Apatow and Mark Brazill.

Happy sigh.

Monday Hangovers

New Kid on a Different Block

Mr. Christopher Rowe has finally begun using his new typepad blog. Isn’t it pretty? Go say hi.

p.s. The reading went great and kicked off a very fun evening with an Easy Listening Band of Doom at a really terrible Mexican place. More on that later. The day got away from us and I have still–rudely–not answered email. It’s nothing personal, I promise, and you’ll hear back from me soon. Off to Atlanta in the o’dark morning.


Okay, so, terribly behind on email and a number of other things. (Email will be answered tomorrow: promise!) We have a reading tomorrow night (I’ll be doing one of the new and improved Girl’s Gang chapters) and I have to write a crit for this evening. On Sunday, I’m off to Atlanta for a couple of days for a work thing and plan to hole up in my room for any loose ends time to (hopefully) put the Girl’s Gang rewrite securely to bed and I need to work up some questions for an interview I’m doing for someplace that’s not here, and on. SO, to be more succint, it’s busy on this end of the dixie cup and you may not hear much from me until Wednesday or so. I’ll try to poke my head in or pre-post a few things for Monday and Tuesday, but I’m not promising.

Just remember: I love you all. Have a nice weekend.

p.s. Check out Kirby Gann’s most excellent answers to a few questions I sent him by way of Mr. Mumpsimus. Kirby Gann week was a great deal of fun, I think, and there’s still an interesting thread in the comments of one of the posts about flawed books and perfect ones. Stop in and leave your own. I prefer less than perfect books myself, for the most part.

They Should Just Get a Teapot*

Pinky of Pinky’s Paperhaus (which is the most beautifully designed site In The World) has a response to the whole dust-up in Salon that’s insightful and on the money — aided by the fact that she knows and likes both Mark and Almond:

Here is where Mark is right: he can dislike Steve Almond’s writing all he wants and can blog his opinion.  No feud, just Mark blogging about a writer, as he blogs about a zillion other writers.

Here is where Steve is right: litbloggers are a concentrated community that can be very closed. Sometimes it seems like a terrifically smart group of 15 people all talking to each other and nodding in agreement.* And I think Steve may be right in saying that blogging keeps people from the work of their "real" writing. Anyone who says it doesn’t isn’t being honest, or doesn’t have a day job.

I’m not sure whether I agree with that very last point about blogging keeping people from their "real" writing–for me it’s been the opposite (although I admit that reading blogs can sure be a procrastination tool)–but I’ve been meaning to post about that anyway, so I’ll save it until next week.

Anyway, the whole thing still makes my stomach hurt–especially the people who came screaming forward to be mean–like watching a fight break out too close to you in a bar. (I don’t blame Mark for turning off his comments.)

(Via the fantabulous Miss Cecil.)

*I couldn’t resist, but it’s snark-free, swear.

ETA: Scalzi weighs in. I admit my first reaction yesterday was: "Salon published this? How lame."

Thursday Hangovers

The Real Competition

I kid; however, the YA books are the only ones I’ve a prayer of reading AND tend to get overlooked (plus, last year, Pete Hautman’s Godless rocked the house) so from the New York Times:

The finalists for the award in young people’s literature include a first-time novelist, Jeanne Birdsall, for "The Penderwicks" (Knopf), a story of four girls and their widowed father; and a previous finalist, Walter Dean Myers, whose new book, "Autobiography of My Dead Brother" (HarperTempest), tells of learning hard lessons while growing up in a tough neighborhood. Also on the short list are Adele Griffin’s "Where I Want to Be" (Putnam), a novel of sibling rivalry and mental illness; "Inexcusable" (Atheneum), an account of date rape told from the point of view of the accused, by Chris Lynch; and "Each Little Bird That Sings" (Harcourt), a Southern coming-of-age novel, by Deborah Wiles.

Anyone recommend or not? These seem a bit more messagey than last year’s finalists.

They’re No Five Ladies From New York

National Book Award nods are out:

: The March by E.L. Doctorow (Random House); Veronica by Mary Gaitskill (Pantheon); Trance by Christopher Sorrentino (FSG); Holy Skirts by Rene Steinke (William Morrow); Europe Central by William T. Vollmann (Viking)

Nonfiction: Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion by Alan Burdick (FSG); Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius by Leo Damrosch (Houghton Mifflin); The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (Knopf); 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn; Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free and Empire’s Slaves by Adam Hochschild (Houghton Mifflin)

Poetry: Where Shall I Wander by John Ashberry (Ecco); Star Dust by Frank Bidart (FSG); Habitat: New and Selected Poems, 1965-2005 by Brendan Galvin (Louisiane State University Press); Migration: New and Selected Poems by W.S. Merwin (Copper Canyon Press); The Moment’s Equation by Vern Rutsala (Ashland Poetry Press)

Young People’s Literature: The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (Knopf); Where I Want to Be by Adele Griffin (Putnam); Inexcusable by Chris Lynch (Atheneum); Autobiography of My Dead Brother by Walter Dean Myers (HarperTempest); Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles (Harcourt).