March 9, 2006

Infinite Jest Considers the Lobster
Bloglogo1.jpgWith the recent release of his book of essays, David Foster Wallace gets the featured treatment from the New York Times. In addition to providing the first chapters of Lobster, the newspaper also offers links to the first chapters of Brief Interview with Hideous Men, Big Fish, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. The Web section also resurrects a 1996 article by Frank Bruni about Wallace.

Slinging the Malamud’s Mud?
After decades of silence, the Bernard Malamud family is talking. More precisely, Janna Malamud Smith, his psychotherapist daughter, is releasing her second book, My Father is a Book. Her first was Private Matters. In conversations with New York Times writer Dinitia Smith, Smith reveals the nature of the book and her father.

Muhammad Cartoons Continue
The fray will not end. In Sign and Sight, French philosopher Andre Glucksmann notes that poking fun at a belief and joking about genocide are not on a par. That’s not quiet the point. “Can the negation of Auschwitz be put on a par with the desecration of Muhammad?” he asks. Of course not. But making fun does not negate an event. Oops that language thing.

Meanwhile why are European and American editors writing in defense of Muhammad al-Assadi, editor of the Yemeni Observer. He reprinted the cartoons—not as humor but as a means of showing his readers why the cartoons should offend any Muslim. Twenty-three lawyers denounced him at his trail. Read more in “Lawyers Assail Yemeni Editor on Cartoons” by Hassan Fattah for the New York Times.

“The British and most of the American press have been right, on balance, not to republish the Danish cartoons that millions of furious Muslims protested…the public does not have a right to read or see whateer it wants no matter what the cost,” writes Ronald Dworkin in “The Right to Ridicule” for the New York Review of Books.

The Future of English
“The ability to speak in fully formed sentences could well be replacing penile dimenion as the mark of a man,” wrote Dominic Dromgoole for The Guardian.

The Greenspan Book Deal
Rumor has it that Penguin is forking over more than $8 million. That says two things: Alan Greenspan has a great negotiating team, and the book industry is crazy. While Greenspan was an economic genius, challenging the politics and policies of several administrations, how many Americans (or Europeans for that matter) will want his story—at least over the next two years? How much time will pass before Penguin recoups its investment? It will—two years, five years. That’s to recoup, not make a profit. Remember that Penguin could earn about $250,000 in 12 months if it deposited the eight million in a savings account.

New York City Readings
Just around the corner (time not space), Chris Belden will lead a free creative writing workshop on Wednesday, March 15 from 7:30-9:30, at the New York Writers Coalition headquarters in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn. Email

That same night in the next borough, Ig Publishing will host its release of Proud to be Liberal anthology at the Housing Works Used Book Cafe at 126 Crosby St. in Manhattan. Anthology contributors will participate in the event: Mark Green, Ted Rall, and David Rees.

Author and Goddard College Professor Beatrix Gates will curate three readers at the Prince George Tea Room (14 E. 28th St. in Manhattan) on April 7 at 7:30—Jan Heller Levi, John Masterson, and Rayna Reiko Rizzutto. The reading is sponsored by the New York Writers Coalition.

Competing with the April 7 event will be Mad Hatters’ Review Anything Goes Reading Series curated by publisher/editor Carol Novack at the KGB Bar (85 E. 4th St.). Readers will include Paul Beckman, Amy King, and Mark Crispin Miller. The emailed flier also noted: “Edgy and enlightened writers interested in being featured in the series should show upon April 7th bearing a couple of writing samples.”


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