- Michiko Kakutani sharpens her axe and takes a few dozen whacks at the current crop of Upper East Side fiction:
Part chick lit, part chic lit, these sorts of books pretend to serve up old-fashioned comedies of manners, enlivened with Tom Wolfe-ian status details. But more often than not, they simply wallow in the opulent lifestyles of their characters, substituting sneers for satire; envy, voyeurism or smug entitlement for genuine observation.
Kind of like the people who actually live in the Upper East Side.
- According to Reuters, the world is about to resemble Minority Report. Remember the guy on the train who's reading the digital USA Today and recognizes Tom Cruise from the breaking report? (Fun trivia fact: that's Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous director Cameron Crowe!)
Soon you, too, will be reading your E-newspaper — "cheap digital screens that can be rolled up and stuffed into a back pocket" — and turning in famous action hero fugitives! Okay, maybe not the second part. And the precogs are likely a few parallel dimensions away, yet. But we're getting there.
- Colm Tóibín has received the "the world's richest literary prize," the Impac Award (that's 100,000 Euros, or $125,665.83 U.S.) for The Master.
- Over in Slate, Peter Beinart, author of The Good Fight: Why Liberals — and Only Liberals — Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again, debates editor Michael Tomasky, who reviewed Beinart's book (unfavorably) in the pages of American Prospect. Let the battle begin!
- The New Yorker wonders: Is James Joyce's grandson suppressing scholarship? More to the point, does he speak in long, rambling sentences that last for pages and lack any kind of punctuation?
- Salon interviews nutritionist and "supermarket sleuth" Marion Nestle about her new book, What to Eat: An Aisle-by-Aisle Guide to Savvy Food Choices and Good Eating. Which is news to me, since I don't really know how to buy anything at a supermarket that doesn't come in a can, can't be served after adding steaming hot water, or doesn't simply require adding milk.
- Perhaps because I'm a sucker for higher education — or maybe because I'm still paying off my school loans — I feel compelled to mention that YA author Justina Chen Headley (whose debut novel, Nothing But the Truth (and a Few White Lies), earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly) is personally sponsoring a $5,000 college scholarship essay contest for anyone ages 12–24. The deadline is July 31st. Now, if I could only find that Wayback Machine I had lying around...
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Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the Powells.com blog. In his free time he's hard at work on his fictional memoir, which changes titles daily.
The views and commentary posted by Brockman are entirely his own, and are not representative of the whole of Powell's Books, its employees, or any sane human being.
Books mentioned in this post