another post pointing out a few of the items that have caught my eye, in the hope you'll find something fascinating here as well.
1. The Death and Life of the Book Review — If you're willing to expend quite a bit of intellectual capital, not to mention time, this excellent piece in this month's The Nation explains the real reasons for the slow genocide of newspaper book sections. It's partly "the anti-intellectual ethos of newspapers themselves" and partly cultural. But despite the changing culture and the fact that only a few newspaper books sections remain, the author asserts that there's still "a genuine hunger for serious books coverage," and explains how book reviews may flourish in magazines and on the Web, even citing ("despite its commercialism") the wonderful Barnes & Noble Review as a city on a hill. The author ends on a note of clear optimism: "Despite the turmoil and doubts, I think there's no better time than the present to be covering books." It's a truly fantastic article!
2. 20 Under 40 — The New Yorker's annual list of 20 young novelists isn't interesting for the names themselves because many (Joshua Ferris, Jonathan Safran Foer, Nicole Krauss) are pretty well-established. It's worth looking at for the interviews with each writer. For instance, I find it fascinating that one of Joshua Ferris's favorite writers is Thomas Pynchon. I'm not sure why that should be interesting, but it stood out to me. The list is in conjunction with the magazine's annual fiction issue, so you can also find stories by writers on the list, including Gary Shteyngart, Salvatore Scibona, and Rivka Galchen.
3. 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die — This list, which isn't exactly new, but is new to me, is compiled in book form based on the recommendations of hundreds of literary critics. It's a great resource if you're looking for ideas for what to read next. No, I didn't go through the exercise of actually counting how many I've read, but if you do, I'd love to hear your score!
4. Lethem "Replacing" DFW — Jonathan Lethem is taking David Foster Wallace's spot as the Roy Disney Chair of Creative Writing at Pomona College in California. This kind of made me sad. Nothing against Lethem, but how could anyone ever really fill DFW's shoes in any respect? But, while we're on a DFW kick (and I usually am), here's some happier news: In December, Columbia University Press is publishing DFW's undergraduate thesis titled "Fate, Time and Language." This precedes the publication of his last unfinished novel The Pale King in April, 2011. That, I can't wait for!
The Passage review in the NY Times — To atone for my sin of erroneously making fun of Justin Cronin's The Passage as a "paranormal urban vampire romance," here's Janet Maslin's mostly positive review from the NY Times.
Any thoughts on these? Any interesting literary-related articles that have caught your eye recently?