Indian Food for Breakfast

1. Author J. G. Ballard has died.

2. Pankaj Mishra is angry about the “Tandoori-Chickenisation of the literary palate in the west”, or the “vastly increased preference for ‘ethnic’ literature among the primary consumers of literary fiction: the book-buying public of western Europe and North America.” As an enthusiast for sites like Words Without Borders and festivals like PEN World Voices, I suppose I should feel chastened, but I don’t. I seek out international literature because it’s my own literature. Who is Pankaj Mishra to tell me that I might not have more in common with, say, Alain Mabanckou or Indra Sinha or Wen Zhu than I do with the guy who lives next door? He may as well tell me to stop eating Indian food (because I don’t really understand it). A clever article, but in the end it’s a familiar complaint and a cheap shot.

3, Don Gillmor investigates the history of Harlequin romances.

4. Jill Lepore on Edgar Allan Poe, whose work had “this virtuosic, showy, lilting, and slightly wilting quality, like a peony just past bloom”.

5. A Japanese author invokes Poe with a pseudonym: Edogawa Rampo.

6. About Last Night locates a true record of a popular Louis Armstrong myth.

6. Updike on Africa.

7. William Patrick Wend on N. Katherine Hayles’ Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary.

8. Emma Bovary, c’est online.

9. Alleged Internet-hater Andrew Keen is just a big softie. His latest article suggests that “blogs are dead” but then quickly devolves into a rundown of some exciting new WordPress real-time/social features. Even in this new mini-era of Twitter, the only thing blogs are dying of is popularity.

10. TechCrunch says web innovators should band together and stop the hype cycle. I agree, but we have a better chance of solving global warming.

11. LitKicks poet Mickey Z. will be participating in “Earth: A Wake up Call for Obama Nation” in Washington DC on April 25.

2 Responses

  1. L: I think the issue with the
    L: I think the issue with the boom of “ethnic” literature — a particularly middle-class attitude — has to do with the underlying orientalism and racism of such fads. In the fact that the moniker of “ethnic” is ascribed to writers as stylistically disparate as Monica Ali and Jhumpa Lahiri, and to authors from China, Iran, and India equally, is ignorant in the literal sense, as in not being able to decipher true from false, to make distinctions of culture, history, language, and heritage.

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!