Happy April Fools’ everyone! And it feels like the universe is playing a bit of an April Fools’ joke over here–it’s been snowing on and off since last night, and there are driving warnings about the snowy conditions in effect until 2pm.
Back home in Sydney, there’s a bit of a kerfuffle too–John Le Carré has tried to withdraw his name from the list of finalists for the Man Booker International Prize. The emphasis here is on “tried,” because the committee, while acknowledging his wishes, has doggedly refused to remove Mr. Le Carre’s name. Never heard of the international prize? Here’s the short version, via The Economist’s Prospero blog:
Unlike the better known annual Man Booker prize for fiction, which has been going for more than 40 years, the international prize is relatively new: it is awarded every two years to a living writer with a body of work available in English. There are no submissions from publishers, authors or agents, and anyone caught jockeying for position is swiftly punished.
And here’s the shortlist (via The Man Booker Prizes):
- Wang Anyi
- Juan Goytisolo
- James Kelman
- John le Carré
- Amin Maalouf
- David Malouf
- Dacia Maraini
- Rohinton Mistry
- Philip Pullman
- Marilynne Robinson
- Philip Roth
- Su Tong
- Anne Tyler
Remember the furore over Amy Chua and her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother? Here she is explaining the differences between her style of parenting and helicopter parenting, alongside her husband, Jed Rubenfeld. (via The Wall Street Journal).
Also at The WSJ, a pie chart of responses to the news that the OED has accepted “LOL,” “FYI,” and “OMG” into its hallowed pages. Galleycat has details on the additions.
The New York Times has a piece about the new David Foster Wallace novel, The Pale King. The novel, from Hachette, is apparently a strict-on-sale for bookstores, which means it can’t be sold prior to a certain date (in this case, April 15th). But Amazon and BN.com, it seems, are already shipping the book. While it might seem like the four horsemen of the apocalypse are tearing up bookstores everywhere, this kind of double standard is a Very Bad Thing. I’m hoping there’s more to the story than we’ve seen so far, and that it’s not just a colossal flub fest.
Over at The Book Smugglers, a review of Chime, by Franny Billingsley (wow, that’s hard to type, even with coffee). Ana and Thea make it sound like a must-read, especially since the book has its own original mythology, “with nary a vampire, werewolf, fairy in sight.” (It actually sounds loosely based on old Celtic tales to me, though). Here’s the opening line:
I’ve confessed to everything and I’d like to be hanged. Now, if you please.
Forgive the bad pun, but that really is a killer first line, one of the best I have ever read.
Over on The Guardian’s Book Blog, David Barnett writes about Jacqueline Howett & how “the internet has finally removed the line in the sand between reviewers and authors.” He includes a few other examples of poorly received bad reviews, too.
And finally, at GalleyCat, blogger Derek Sivers has reproduced a series of story grids Kurt Vonnegut made during a New York City lecture. Check out the GC post for details and hashtags for GalleyCat’s NaNoEdMo festivities, or go straight to the story grids. I think I’ll be trying this out for my own work–charting ecstasy and misery is much more interesting than a plain old narrative arc!
That’s all, folks! Have a great day!
ETA 9:25am: note about Jed Rubenfeld in the above video.Read More