1. We spent a lively week with short story artisan Alan DeNiro at the Litblog Co-op, and now it’s time to end the Spring 2007 rites and begin the Summer festivities. We’ve just announced the three nominations for the Litblog Co-Op’s next READ THIS! selection, and for the first time since I joined this group a year ago, I was appointed to be one of the three nominators. After much deliberation, I made my selection: Triangle by Katharine Weber, which has just been released in paperback. Here’s what I wrote about this book when I reviewed it on LitKicks. It’s only grown on me since then, so I think it was a good choice. The other two books in the running for the Summer READ THIS! are Always by Nicola Griffith and Jamestown by Matthew Sharpe.
2. I’m disappointed that more people aren’t talking about the shutting down of two imprints, Thunder’s Mouth and Carroll & Graf, by holding company Perseus Books Group. A lot of familiar backlist titles may be lost to the reading public because of this business decision. One Thunder’s Mouth author, the venerable Beat jazz pianist and ethnomusicologist David Amram, sent me an email to tell me his own good news: he has already obtained the re-publication rights for his two books currently in print with Thunder’s Mouth, Vibrations and Offbeat: Collaborating With Kerouac, and Paradigm Books will be bringing out new editions of both titles in 2008, along with a new book! This is good news. But what of all the other titles in these catalogs, the ones that don’t get carried over? I know it’s a jungle out there, but I wish people would at least moan about it some more.
3. But it’s a happy Tuesday. Have a Reality Sandwich. Featuring articles by folks like Daniel Pinchbeck, Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid, The Yes Men and Ken Jordan.
4. The NBCC’s campaign to save newspaper book reviews hit a high point with this Salman Rushdie appearance on Stephen Colbert. This very vocal campaign has also inspired the announcement of a series of panel discussions at the upcoming BookExpo conference in New York City. I think the protest begun by John Freeman and the NBCC has evolved into a fascinating and strangely revealing ongoing public debate, and I’m looking forward to these in-person events. As for my own contributions to this dialogue, Scott Esposito recently rebutted a point of mine on his Conversational Reading blog. I certainly agree with Scott that most newspaper critics must be working other jobs to pay the bills just as bloggers are. But I think my larger point — that some of the tension between newspaper/magazine book critics and bloggers may be class-based — still stands.
6. Much ado about Don Delillo. I’m mixed on Falling Man, as I almost always am regarding this writer. Based on the excerpts I’ve read or heard, I find Delillo’s voice too cold to love, too authoritative to ignore.
8. The second Lulu Blooker Prize (for a book that originated on a blog) has been awarded to My War: Killing Time in Iraq by Corby Buzzell.
9. Some rare and notable literary collectibles representing 19th and 20th Century literature (including Harry Crosby, Rainer Rilke, Ernest Hemingway, J.R.R. Tolkien and Kurt Vonnegut) are up for auction in the next few days at New York’s Swann Galleries. As always, these auctions are good for browsing (online or in person) as well as for buying.
10. Ed Champion has handed his blog over to a marauding mob for two weeks.