This week! Books! We’re coming to the end of publishing summer, when those lazy summer Fridays give way to exciting fall submissions. Here are some of the best articles I saw from the past week. Our hopes for a hot vaxxed summer may have been dashed by Delta, but in the book world, sales are […]
Jonathan Franzen, Kanye West and the cultural appropriation of trolling
It’s been ten years now since Kanye West caused an immense stir in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina by staring into a camera and saying, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” next to a memorably dumbfounded Mike Myers. (George Bush later said it was the worst moment of his presidency). Kanye West has of […]
The Privileged Rage of Jonathan Franzen
Jonathan Franzen has written a book about a writer once nicknamed the “Great Hater,” and announced it with an essay in which he hated on a lot of things, including Twitter, Salman Rushdie, Jeff Bezos, Jennifer Weiner, the Mac guy in Apple’s Mac vs. PC ads… the list is long. While his jabs against Bezos […]
Are we stripping modern books bare?
Reader Drew Turney wrote to me recently with an interesting question. There’s so much advice, commentary, and opinion about stripping away anything unessential to a book’s plot. Writing in the modern era emphasizes moving the plot forward at all costs, and everything else is “ruthlessly killed off no matter how darling.” Digressions and detritus that […]
Jonathan Franzen and a Fear of Noise
Jonathan Franzen, like any curmudgeon, is eminently easy to make fun of. From his hyperbolic denunciations of social media and e-book readers to his passion for birds to that whole Oprah thing… he’s an easy target. So I was extremely excited about seeing him speak in person this past Thursday. I even live-tweeted some quotes, […]
Why Are So Many Literary Writers Technophobic?
It seems like hardly a week goes by without one literary writer or another hyperbolically decrying the way we’re all going to hell in an electronic handbasket. First Jonathan Franzen argued that e-books are damaging society and suggested that all “serious” readers read print. Last week Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan complained of social networking, […]