Monday, October 15, 2007

Lessing is More, the return of Weise, and more

It's book awards season, withe the Booker to be announced tomorrow night.

The day before the Nobel Prize for Literature was announced, I was much amused by this article, starting with its headline: "Philip Roth Braces for Swedish Snub in Nobel Literature Prize." First, I honestly don't know why people keep speculating that Roth is poised to win the prize. He has nothing in common with recent winners as far as I can tell. And second, does anyone really think Roth is expecting it or even hoping for it himself? I can just see him rolling his eyes.

They surprised everyone, especially the recipient as evidenced in this hilarious video, by awarding it to Doris Lessing. Her reaction (beginning with "Oh, Christ") is so refreshing and amusing, I think the usual award taint will be reversed in this case. But seriously, I was blown away by this op-ed the Times unearthed on the topic of political correctness. It hasn't aged a day (and I have at least one acquaintance I was sorely tempted to email it to):
Does political correctness have a good side? Yes, it does, for it makes us re-examine attitudes, and that is always useful. The trouble is that, with all popular movements, the lunatic fringe so quickly ceases to be a fringe; the tail begins to wag the dog. For every woman or man who is quietly and sensibly using the idea to examine our assumptions, there are 20 rabble-rousers whose real motive is desire for power over others, no less rabble-rousers because they see themselves as anti-racists or feminists or whatever.
PW pointed out that FSG rocked the National Book Award noms, esp. the fiction category. (Though it's the Knopf title that I'm currently reading.) And Red observed to me that once again the Young People's Literature category leans heavily toward YA over children's lit.

To read the Times review (OK, here's the link but put on some gloves before you read it), you'd think the Katha Pollitt (she of the sterling sense of humor and acute ability to cut like a laser beam through the fog of politics) was a shrewish monster whose new book would be torture to read. Glad I wasn't the only one who was appalled.

This is so cool! I mentioned in an earlier post being troubled that gay lit-friendly editor Don Weise was out of a job, but there's clearly no keeping him down:
EDITOR DON WEISE, who assembled a busy catalog of gay and lesbian titles at Carroll & Graf before the press was folded into Perseus Books, has assembled an all-star panel of judges for an inaugural Open Door Project fiction competition, open to writers of gay male fiction who have not yet published a book. The winner, to be announced in Spring 2008, will receive five days in New York and an introduction to publishing that includes lunches with literary agents, book editors, and other publishing figures; a public reading; and a private cocktail reception with New York's writing community. Judges for the competition include Christopher Bram, Alexander Chee, Samuel R. Delany, Dennis Cooper, Robert Gluck, E. Lynn Harris, Scott Heim, Andrew Holleran, David Leavitt, Stephen McCauley, Dale Peck, and John Weir. "Our goal, simply put, is to discover the most promising unpublished novelists," said Weise. Deadline for submissions is March 1, mailed to Open Door Project, c/o Oscar Wilde Bookshop, 15 Christopher Street, NY, NY 10014.
Some are saying The Golden Compass has been watered down in becoming a film. (The changes sound fairly logical to me, though.)

So it turns out that back before he was a star writer, Tom Perotta collected a paycheck contributing to the R.L. Stine Fear Street series! The novel was The Thrill Club, and Galleycat found an Amazon comment indicating it was way out there even for this series.

Google has an author series? And I'm surprised they had Cory Doctorow, who's been a big critic of Google.

What fun! Stills from Simpsons episodes side by side with the movies that inspired them.

I'm excited to hear there's a new film coming by the director of the wonderful Linda Linda Linda.


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