This week, Larry Brown's final novel, A Miracle of Catfish, goes on sale, and hopefully we'll be reading a lot about it and Brown over the next few months. In the Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger, there's a brief review of the book; a great profile of and conversation with Brown's widow, Marie Annie; and a short article about Marie Annie's decision to allow Algonquin to handle the unfinished novel.
I somehow missed this last week and just heard about it on a local-access TV interview. It appears that the Raleigh News & Observer's book coverage, like so many other papers across the country, will be undergoing some major changes, starting with the move of J. Peder Zane from editor of the book review section to an "ideas" columnist, which I suppose is a promotion(?). While the News & Observer insists that there will be not be a reduction of its two-pages in the Sunday paper, one can't help wonder if we Raleighites can expect more reviews of the syndicated variety. Meanwhile, Bob Hoover has more on the shrinking coverage of books in newspapers.
The LA Times has an interesting article about the Los Angeles Corral of the Westerners historical group, an organization that is
...dedicated to ensuring that storytellers separate the truth from tall tales. Its Los Angeles Corral members — half of whom are professional historians and half amateurs — have published more than 1,000 accounts about major episodes in the history of the West, including Gen. George Armstrong Custer at Little Big Horn and Billy the Kid, a.k.a. William Bonney.
They have sifted fact from fiction about vigilante groups, gunfights and lynchings, the lasting legends of Pony Express riders and the route of the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach. Their findings are compiled in nearly 250 issues of quarterly booklets called the Branding Iron, as well as in 22 Brand Books and 33 commemorative pamphlets.
50 Cent the writer/rapper has helped make urban lit a highly profitable venture, even though sales don't translate to a spot on best-sellers lists:
Publishing industry sources say the books have been flying off the shelves, so far. And at a cultural moment in which rappers are shilling everything from wireless networks to air fresheners, 50 Cent's expansion of G-Unit has made him the "gangster-style Oprah" in the opinion of Vibe magazine Editor in Chief Danyel Smith. "There's a whole generation of people who feel underserved by the types of books that are often categorized as 'mainstream,' " Smith said. "50 and his management team are going to exploit that and hopefully serve some readers at the same time. From a marketing perspective, I think it's genius."
The Brooklyn Rail's Ryan McDermott offers up a number of quotes on oppression. My favorite is from James Baldwin: "The world’s definitions are one thing and the life one actually lives is quite another. One cannot allow oneself, nor can one’s family, friends, or lovers—to say nothing of one’s children—to live according to the world’s definitions: one must find a way, perpetually, to be stronger and better than that."
It appears that Ed Champion had some of the same issues with Joshua Ferris' much-praised Then We Came to an End that I did. Namely, the first-person plural rubs us the wrong way after a couple of dozen page.
The AP gives us a look at H.P. Lovecraft's Providence.
Newsweek lists a few literary social-networking site.