Roundup.

  • I’ve started this roundup three times; WordPress keeps eating the post.  Why?
  • Here’s yet another edition of Auster’s New York Trilogy to ignore in favor of this one.
  • TIME wants your questions for Haruki Murakami.
  • Here’s some random nonsense about how writers cope with “reader’s block.”  See how they did that – they switched “writer” with “reader”!  I wasted my time reading this article so I could tell you that Germaine Greer is surly and stupid.
  • Matt Staggs gives us the rundown on the forthcoming-from-Soft-Skull-Press Get Your War On book, including a link to the video – because now it’s animated.
  • Morons, also via Staggs.
  • This guy is surlier than the love child of me (couldn’t you tell?) and Germaine Greer.  Is he right to be so surly?  Indefinite.
  • I didn’t know that Esquire had a books blog.  Now I do, thanks to Brandon.  Via them, I give you this:  In The Washington Post Magazine‘s Summer Reading Issue, Ha Jin, Julia Glass, Cheryl Strayed and Jonathan Safran Foer recount their most memorable summer.  I don’t remember seeing anyone else mention this article, which seems strange.  Being surly-minded today, I’m feeling extremely dubious about JSF’s face-melting “memory,” but the Ha Jin piece is nice.  Excerpt:
  • In college, English meant humiliation to me. When I was assigned to major in the language in 1977 at Heilongjiang University, I knew only dozens of English words and was put in the lowest class, where I stayed four years. We were the first group of undergraduates admitted through the entrance exams after the Cultural Revolution, after colleges had been closed for a decade. There was no hope for a late starter like me to catch up with the students in the faster English classes, so I kind of gave up and avoidedworking hard on my English. But in 1980, writers such as Hemingway, Faulkner, Bellow and Malamud suddenly became immensely popular in China after American literature had mostly been banned for three decades. I was fascinated by their fiction: Their literary subject matter was not confined to politics and social movements, as it was in China, and the techniques they used — such as stream of consciousness and multiple narrative points of view — were unheard of to me. I made up my mind to study American literature after college. For that, I would have to pass an advanced English test, so I began applying myself.
  • Great Flannery O’Conner quote on art.

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3 thoughts on “Roundup.

  1. Ah, Auster. I’ve got to the read “TNYT.” I kind of liked “Oracle Night,” but I wasn’t expecting it to be so weird. And I always have to be in the mood for weird. “The Brooklyn Follies” was better; I read that entire book back in April, on a round-trip flight from Tampa to Denver. I was sad when I read the last page on my layover in Cincinnati. Didn’t expect to finish it so quickly. On the flight home, I had to flip through the in-flight magazine and stare out the window. Even sitting first class, I was irritable.

  2. What? I’d thought you’d read that already. It’s weird like “Oracle Night,” but better. Much, much better. And I liked “Oracle Night” – but NYT, you can’t read Auster without reading that, it’s the best. I found “Brooklyn Follies” disappointing, but that’s coming from the starting point (for me) of NYT. So I’ll be interested to see your thoughts going in the other direction.

    For god’s sake, read it soon. It’s fantastic. When people compare books like “Atmospheric Disturbances” to Auster, they’re talking NYT.

    (And get the Penguin Deluxe edition!)

  3. I’ll definitely make NYT my next Auster book. Oracle Night, which I read earlier this year, was my first dance with Auster.

    And I like the Penguin Deluxe Edition covers. I’m going to pick up the PDE of The Dharma Bums (and, of course, NYT) next time I head to the bookstore.

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