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Posts Tagged ‘John Banville’

“All They Do Is Eat,” And Other News

April 29, 2013 | by

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  • “It’s about eating lunch. They eat salad and cake. All they do is eat”: in which a two-year-old judges books by their covers.
  • “He tends to devoice a lot of the fricatives, but I take that purely as an idiolectal variant”: an (in-depth) interview with the linguist who created Game of Thrones’ multiple languages.
  • Fifty authors, including Hilary Mantel, Tom Stoppard, and John Banville, have contributed annotated first editions to an English PEN auction. Which is to say, they can (theoretically) be yours.
  • The Henry Miller Memorial Library decamps temporarily to Miller’s hometown of Brooklyn for the Big Sur Brooklyn Bridge festival.
  • Ishiguro on film, Tóibín on opera: six novelists on their second-favorite art forms.

 

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Music to Write By, and Other News

November 26, 2012 | by

  • The six-hour duration may be aspirational, but you have to love this writing sound track.
  • Ann Lamott tweets that she will stake her reputation on the varied titles mention in her New York Times “By the Book” column.
  • And speaking of mutual admiration: authors choose their favorite books of 2012.
  • “The first hard-boiled female protagonists were written by men.” A brief history of tough dames.
  • “Those poor scribes … had their work cut out for them.” John Banville on the Book of Kells.
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    Buy Elvis’s Library Card

    August 9, 2012 | by

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    The Driftwood Remains: My Search for A Bankable Title

    December 19, 2011 | by

    Hope: A Tragedy was the first title I suggested to my editor. I really thought it was right.

    “No,” he said.

    My parents didn’t love me, so I have low self-esteem, and I agreed to keep working. These are some of the alternate titles I presented, and the reasoning for or against them:

    The Diary of Anne Frankenstein:
    My working title; I never really intended to use it—too Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters—but it had grown on me, and I mentioned it to my editor as I was finishing the manuscript. This caused him to proclaim a couple of “title rules” for this novel:

    1) Nothing funny.

    2) No mentioning Anne Frank.

    Apparently, people don’t buy “funny” novels, and they don’t buy books about Anne Frank. Which is, ironically enough, pretty fucking funny.

    It’s a Wonderful Ka-Pow:
    Too funny.

    Did I Ever Tell You How Unlucky You Are?
    Too funny.

    To Those About to Be Consumed by Flames:
    Too Sedaris.

    Nowhere Ho:
    I liked this title quite a bit, a play on the old expression “Westward Ho.” Kugel, the main character, wishes for nothing more than to be nowhere—a place with no past, no history, no wars, no genocides. My editor liked it as well, and began mentioning it to people, testing it out. It turns out young people don’t know that expression anymore. The poor dears were very confused. My editor was disappointed. I wanted to run to Nowhere even more than I had before.

    There was a brief concern that they wouldn’t know who Anne Frank is, either, which, we decided, would be pretty fucking funny.

    The Sufferers:
    I do my best to stay out of bookstores because they make me want to kill myself, but apparently The X is a bit of a trend now. The Informers, The Intuitionist, The Imperfectionists. Et cetera. There was some concern it would be seen as that. I had a difficult time believing that things had gotten so bad that the word “The” was a trend.

    “Like the Bible?” I asked.

    “Keep working,” I was told.

    The Lacerations and The Crematorians died for the same reason. Probably for the best, those. Read More »

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    From the Cloakroom, at the Booker

    October 20, 2011 | by

    Julian Barnes by Ross MacGibbon.

    For the real action at this year’s Man Booker Prize, you had to hit the cloakroom. For much of the evening, along with correspondents from all the major newspapers, I was sequestered in a large room in the palatial spread of the Guildhall. It was only when I ventured downstairs that recognizable faces attached to tuxedos and evening gowns began to drift in from the dinner. I ran across one former winner, dreamily improvising at an invisible keyboard while explaining how relieved he was to belong to what he called the great continuity of the prize; a well-known literary editor roamed the corridors, warily peering from right to left in the manner of a displaced meerkat; and Anne Robinson, host of The Weakest Link, was huddled against a wall, unusually hushed by the seashell allure of her cellphone. Read More »

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