Tuesday March 9th, 2010

In the Ether

indyJ. D. Salinger didn’t care for Raiders of the Lost Ark. . . . I agree with almost every word of Levi Asher’s take on the e-books “revolution,” and whether it will ever happen in full. A small piece: “The sensory/physical equation of music listening is really very different from that of reading. An MP3 player disappears when you’re listening to music. But a book does not disappear—not in the digital or the print realm.” . . . The web has already covered this news thoroughly, as the web tends to do, but let me add my congratulations to Lorin Stein for being named editor of The Paris Review. Smart choice by a smart magazine. . . . A database of 337 20th-century bestsellers, with “an extremely detailed description of the book’s history; a mini-essay on its reception; images of covers, page layouts, and even some ads; and more.” (Via The Millions) . . . The first match of the Tournament of Books is in the, er, books, and we’ll have to wait for our first upset. . . . Peter Straub writes at length about the genre wars, including this:

[J]ust for beginners, let’s admit that literary fiction is a genre, too, shall we? Expectations guide its readers, that of respect for consensus reality and the poignancy of seemingly ordinary lives, of sensitive character-drawing and vivid scene-painting, of the reversals and conflicts characteristic of the several sub-genres of literary fiction: the academic novel, the comic novel, the adultery novel, the comic academic adultery-novel, the experimental novel, the novel of foreign travel or inward journey, of unexpected encounter, of breakdown, of alcoholism, of youth, of middle age, of a hundred different things so well-known and encoded that the fonts used for the titles and the authors’ names tell you as much as the flap copy.