1. Newsweek’s book critic Malcolm Jones recently turned in a review of Vikram Chandra’s 928-page Sacred Games in which he frankly confessed to not finishing the book. Scott Esposito and Ed Champion don’t like this one bit, but I have to stand with Michael Orthofer, who finds the offense understandable.
I’ve always stood against the idea of literary criticism as a lofty or accredited profession. I like to think of critics and “regular readers” as similar animals in the literary ecosystem: we all talk about books we like and dislike, but some of us have bigger audiences than others. Going by this theory, since regular readers can and do spout opinions about books they haven’t finished, I don’t see why I should begrudge a writer for Newsweek the right to do the same — as long as it’s a good article, and as long as the writer tells the truth.
Also, Malcolm Jones is dead on when he pleads with writers like Vikram Chandra to stop punishing us with ridiculously lengthy books. I feel the exact same way about Sacred Games. 928 pages? Go away.
2. Valerie Trueblood, author of Seven Loves, is visiting the Litblog Co-op today.
4. Here’s Richard Nash of Soft Skull in a superb 3 a. m. Interview about the financial realities of indie publishing. A must-read if you run a small press or are thinking of running one.
5. George Plimpton has hit the web in high fashion with a hyperactive but undeniably impressively designed new website. I’ve always liked Plimpton, and my interest increased recently after I watched the 1968 film version of Paper Lion. I hope this website is an indication of much Plimpton-based activity to follow.
6. Bud Parr has a new blog, dedicated to social networking! One blog just isn’t enough anymore.