Rachel Cooke writes smartly, at length, about Philip Larkin’s posthumous reputation. (“Beyond noting that his private utterances were in marked contrast to his public behaviour, which was ever polite, Larkin’s racism is uncomfortable and indefensible, even when you put it in the context of his times. The charges of misogyny, though, are about to start looking a whole lot more flimsy.”) . . . The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest asks participants to write the worst opening sentence to an imaginary novel. The 2010 winner has been announced. . . . David Grossman’s new novel is one of the fall releases I’m most looking forward to reading. Scott Esposito points out that it comes with a hilariously overwrought blurb from Nicole Krauss. . . . Michael Popek finds a Yankees-Red Sox ticket stub from 1955 in an old paperback. . . . How in the world did Harper Lee become a bestseller without being on Twitter? . . . Lee recently agreed to meet a reporter, but they only fed ducks together. The condition was: No talk of To Kill a Mockingbird. . . . Today is what June should feel like, thank heavens, but the week’s earlier mugginess got Lisa Peet thinking of books about New York’s waterways.
Wednesday June 30th, 2010