Saturday, November 15, 2003

Saturday morning cartoons 

Literary agent Giles Gordon has died at the age of 63, after suffering a head injury.

Laura Miller rambles about the National Book Award. Something about how they don't really reward the best of the year, but like lifetime achievement awards:

When I served on a prize committee, one member, a novelist, vowed to keep a very popular, widely praised, genuinely brilliant novel from winning, for reasons that were no less righteously asserted for being fairly vague. Far more appealing to the author/judge is a candidate who's done great work, just not lately. Of this year's N.B.A. finalists, three -- Spencer, Wiggins and Hazzard -- published much better books five or more years ago.

So the NBA is the Academy Awards of literature. Didn't we already know this already?

More from the Times: a rave review of a new biography of Pushkin, a look at the latest Hollywood novel by Bruce Wagner, and a nice review of Elizabeth Hay's Giller-nominated GARBO LAUGHS.

Gordon Burn feels that contemporary American literature kind of sucks now. Based on who he deems as indicative of AmLit, I think he's reading the wrong people. OTOH, at least talking crime fiction, I'm much more in sync with UK based authors these days.

Julie Burchill (yup, she's still there) argues that Jacqueline Susann's VALLEY OF THE DOLLS was a hallmark of subversive literature. Can't wait what meaning she attaches to GROUPIE.

Sarah A Smith of the Guardian totally misses the boat on WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN. Well, she doesn't like it very much, thinking it "discordant" and "misguided." So the Brits like a book about American school shootings and the like as told by someone who isn't in that culture, but doesn't like a book that gives a more unflinching portrait of the guilt and aftermath and wondering whether a parent can have less than loving feelings toward her child? Okay....

Martin Levin was unsure Steve Martin could pull it off, but feels THE PLEASURE OF MY COMPANY works rather well.

Lloyd Axworthy wrote a book?! Well, it seems the former Canadian Foreign Minister has indeed done so, and even more amazingly, the National Post feels it has some merit.

The perils of going on a book tour--what happens when you're faced with too many people, or none at all? DBC Pierre and Carl Hiaasen offer their perspectives.

Kate Finlayson's first novel is just out, and she's rather surprised she made it in the first place. Well, true, the odds are rather high of getting published....

And finally, the Australian media is still trying to make sense of the weird phenomenon that is the Hilton sisters. I don't blame them--I still can't understand it either.

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