The following are a collection of WDS-recommended literary blogs (including a snippet from each blog to give you a feel for it). Some support other types of news and rants, and many are quite entertaining, plus links and such as a bonus. Of special interest are Moby, Buzzwords, Return of The Reluctant, and Bookslut, but all are unique and worthwhile.
(a decent lit blog despite the SEX and CARTOON ads)
Beatrice :// [View]
"Once upon a time, American newspapers used to be filled with fiction. (I know what you're going to say, and you can just stifle yourself right now, smartass.) But even within that particular tradition, the Yiddish-language Forward was especially noteworthy for the literary luminaries whose short fiction and serialized novels appeared in its pages. Now the modern, English-language incarnation of the paper builds on the legacy with a never-before-seen short story by Pearl Abraham, "The Goat of Berditchev (or Every Jew Must Have a Goat)." It's Passover-themed, so buy a copy or print the web page out and bring it to seder!"
Bookdwarf :// [View]
"I blog at work and you can imagine what a retail store is like at this time of year. So I will just put up the books I loved the most. I know 10 is nice, good round number but I really had a hard time coming up with the tenth book. I read so much, I often forget books. The ones that do manage to stick in my mind are usually the good ones (or books I did not care for, such as The Names by Don DeLillo, which is odd since I really liked White Noise)."
Bookslut Blog :// [View]
"Thought Balloons noticed some strange timing in the publication of Todd McFarlane's "Things I Can't Live Without" (Mark McGwire's 70th home-run baseball, bought for $3 million, Braveheart DVD, Action Comics No. 1, circa 1938, estimated value $500,000). He did, after all, just declare bankruptcy (of the financial, not moral, kind, oddly enough)."
Booksurfer :// [View]
"There's a new catalogue out from Zed Books publishers of serious books on serious global issues. New and forthcoming publications include: Banana Wars - the Price of Free Trade, Who Owns the Media, Living Longer, Armed Actors (about organized violence and the failure of states in Latin America) and Reclaiming the Land."
Buzzwords Deux :// [View]
"Naturally we were pleased to see the odious Piers Morgan sacked as Editor of the Daily Mirror earlier this year, not least for his bid to improve the ailing tabloid's circulation by publishing a so-called 3am Magazine (which their lawyers argued had no conflictual presence with our more longstanding litzine).
Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind :// [View]
"And speaking of authors responding to controversial news, Rick Moody speaks to Claire Zulkey about writing, reading or not reading reviews (depends who you believe) and actually says something about being a National Book Award judge! Granted, not very much...(link from GalleyCat)."
Conversational Reading :// [View]
"I think Siegel actually makes a pretty good point about Freud's ideas releasing fiction from character. Authors like Pynchon, Borges, and DeLillo did some interesting things that couldn't have been done if they had to stick to writing authentic characters. With that said, Siegel is clearly overreaching when he says "Nowadays, often even the most accomplished novels offer characters that are little more than flat, ghostly reflections of characters."
Grimm Perspectives :// [View]
"The site www.keepitcoming.net is at the forefront of the Renaissance of serialized fiction. Subscribers receive an issue every Tuesday and every Friday of their chosen serials delivered to their e-mailbox. In addition, KIC is launching a print literary magazine, which makes its debut in February, 2005 (www.keepitcoming.net/mag.html)."
Grumpy Old Bookman :// [View]
"For the next few days we shall be looking at a selection of essays by Eric de Bellaigue, recently published by the British Library under the title British Book Publishing as a Business since the 1960s – hereinafter to be referred to as BBPB."
Kitabkhana :// [View]
"Susan Sontag has died at the age of 71. I hope those boys in Stockholm are happy now; they have another name to add to the long, long list of great writers who deserved the Nobel but died before they got the nod. I never quite forgave the Academy for keeping W G Sebald permanently on the Nobel shortlist for years while lesser talents shuffled off with the laurel wreath, and then he died in an accident.
Maud Newton :// [View]
"The keys -- well, two anyway -- to surviving the MLA are hydration and overcaffeination. This makes the loooong line at Starbucks a great place to scope the latest fashion trends in academe. Will patterned hose be big again this year? What's with the longer hair on older men?"
MobyLives :// [View]
"It was no mystery, but now it's official: 'Oprah's recommendations had a bigger impact on the sales of books than anything we have previously seen in literature, or seen since,' according to a survey by a Brigham Young University economics professor, Richard Butler. As an Associated Press wire story reports, "Butler 'and his team of students" found that "Winfrey's recommendation was enough to lift books from obscurity and to keep them on the best–seller lists longer than other titles.'"
Moorish Girl.COM :// [View]
"Late last year, a few people pointed out that the Man Booker prize is considered a major event in Britain, the awards carried on TV, and the nominees showered with lots of attention from booksellers and readers, while, in comparison, the Pulitzer and the National Book Awards here in the States generally go by unnoticed by the general public, and with almost no sales boost for the nominated authors. The solution to this dilemma, American publishers figured, would be to bring some glamour to the awards. But since, after all, these are American publishers we're talking about, the idea quickly turned into this: The Quill Awards. (Quill is the distant, shunned cousin of Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy.)"
NewPages Weblog :// [View]
"Judith Reisman believes sex researcher Alfred Kinsey is responsible for all the cultural decay and sexual permissiveness that she sees. And she's got the ear of the Christian right and the White House."
Nipposkiss :// [View]
"HUMPITY HUMP HUMP ... Paul Golding's Senseless reivewed at The Telegraph: Despite its title, Paul Golding's second novel is overwhelmingly sensual, its five sections each dedicated to one of the senses, its narrator's senses fantastically heightened. Senseless occupies some of the ground covered in Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty – 1980s London, gay counter-culture and a drug-addled aristocracy."
Rake's Progress :// [View]
"On this day in 2001 Douglas Adams died of a heart attack in a Santa Barbara gym, aged forty-nine. He had moved to California to be more involved in negotiations with Hollywood producers on the movie version of his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, one of the few mediums left for it to conquer. Recent announcements that the film will finally be made must be seasoned with Adams's observation that getting things done in Hollywood is "like trying to grill a steak by having a succession of people coming into the room and breathing on it."
ReadySteadyBlog :// [View]
"Cleis Press, the largest independent queer publishing company in the United States, celebrates its 25th anniversary next year. The good folk there have just published Edmund White's Arts and Letters "39 lively essays and profiles [illuminating] some of the most influential writers, artists, and cultural icons of the past century, among them Marcel Proust, Catherine Deneuve, George Eliot, Andy Warhol, André Gide, David Geffen, and Robert Mapplethorpe."
Return of the Reluctant :// [View]
"Barnes & Noble Plans to Add More Candles and Disco Ball on the Sales Floor ... A recent New York survey found that Barnes & Noble was the best place to get a date. Together with the 98% Democratic PAC figures and expanded wi-fi access, it looks like B&N is on its way to becoming the new black. At least as chain store behemoths go. The big question here is how can indie book stores compete on the, er, hooking up angle."
So Many Books :// [View]
"The strange person who left the strange comment to my Sturgeon post yesterday was my dearly beloved Bookman himself. He got all blustery over my lack of excitement and passion for More Than Human. It is not that I didn't like the book, I did, it just wasn't one that made me want to tell everyone who happened by to read the book. And it doesn't mean that I wouldn't try reading something else by him some other time."
Splinters :// [View]
"Roussel redux: MadInkBeard (sporting an impressive new design) has a review of the new edition/translation of Raymond Roussel's New Impressions of Africa. Reading Mark Ford's biography (see my current reading), I suspect Roussel's books are not to my taste, much as I enjoy the book itself. I'm glad that MIB reminds us that Robbe-Grillet has an essay on Roussel in For a New Novel."
The Elegant Variation :// [View]
"Who gets published and who doesn't? The Nation reviews Pascale Casanova's La République mondiale des lettres and offers its answers: Casanova's work amounts to a radical remapping of global literary space--which means, first of all, the recognition that there is a global literary space. Her insights build on world systems theory, the idea, developed by Fernand Braudel and Immanuel Wallerstein, that the capitalist economy that has emerged since about 1500 must be understood as a single global system of interlinked national economies."
The Happy Booker :// [View]
"4 Pulitzer Prize winners, 17 National Book Award finalists and winners; 3 MacArthur recipients; and 36 Guggenheim and 18 NEA fellows, as well as winners of American Book Awards, Southern Book Critics Circle Awards, PEN/Malamud and Whiting Prizes, an Orange Prize and a Newbery Medal signed an open letter today to Oprah Winfrey, asking her to re-instate her book club."
The Literary Saloon :// [View]
"Part of one of the world's great collections of erotic literature, Gérard Nordmann's, is being exhibited as Eros invaincu at the Fondation Martin Bodmer in Geneva through 27 March. Over 130 items, the most notable of which is de Sade's manuscript of The 120 Days of Sodom, written on a 12 metre scroll (and saved from the Bastille, where de Sade wrote the infamous book, and where he was still incarcerated when it was stormed)."
The Reading Experience :// [View]
"If the primary substantative complaint (as opposed to simple whining on the part of publishers) about the 2004 National Book Award nominees was that "big" novels full of ideas and ambition, novels written in the literary version of Cinemascope, were ignored in favor of more modest, more exquisitely crafted fictions, Christine Schutt's Florida must certainly have been exhibit one. It is the very antithesis of the engaged social novel, the grand narrative, the "compelling read" straining to be a blockbuster."
Tingle Alley :// [View]
"Reader Jeff Vandermeer praises Clare Dudman’s One Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead, which was published by Viking Books in February. Jeff writes: “Brilliant novel about Alfred Wegener’s life–the guy who put forward the continental drift theory. Wegener was also an avid explorer, so the science is intermingled with the tale of his Arctic journeys. It’s a poignant and amazing novel. I dislike historical fiction for the most part. I loved this book.”
Waterboro lib blog :// [View]
"Alex Beam in the Boston Globe profiles adventure novelist Bernard Cornwell, originally from Britain, now living in relative obscurity in Cape Cod. Best known for his popular Napoleonic-era adventure novels featuring Richard Sharpe, he's also written three other series, five thrillers, and five other novels."