In light of Günter Grass’s recent clash with Israel, Dave Eggers is declining to travel to Germany and accept an award from the Günter Grass foundation. Not in protest of the author’s poem “What Must Be Said” but, rather, because “in light of the recent debate, he would be forced into commenting, endlessly and needlessly, on Grass and Israel and Iran, when the purpose of his visit was supposed to be about discussing his book Zeitoun, and the plight of Americans during and after Hurricane Katrina,” according to the Wylie Agency. This is controversial.
Slate weighs in on the e-book case: “The DoJ’s action effectively robs publishers of the ability to price their own products and robs other retailers of any hope of competing effectively with Amazon. Hence the DoJ has all but guaranteed a future in which readers end up with fewer well-edited books—both physical and electronic—and in which writers feel less free to speak against concentrated power.”
Wuthering Heights … home of wind turbines? Concerns over wind farms in Brontë country.
While rhapsodizing about the “smell of books” is something of a personal peeve, this video, in which University College London chemists analyze the distinctive perfume, is interesting. Apparently, the bouquet is “a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness.”
On the “Dark Lady of American Letters”: Margaret Fuller was a divisive figure due to “the effect of her manners, which expressed an overweening sense of power, and slight esteem of others … The men thought she carried too many guns, and the women did not like one who despised them.”
RIP Christine Brooke-Rose, an experimental novelist who has died at eighty-nine. Quoth the New York Times, she had “the ardor of a philologist, the fingers of a prestidigitator and the appetite of a lexivore, resulting in novels that exhilarated many critics and enervated others.”
England’s poet laureate takes on the Pendle Witches. “This was a grisly affair, even by the debased standards of the day, with two of the women hanged at Lancaster castle aged over eighty and blind, another probably driven mad by a disfigured face with one eye lower than the other, and all ten convicted largely on the evidence of a nine-year-old child.”
Ninety-six-year-old Herman Wouk’s latest novel, The Lawgiver, chronicles the making of a movie about Moses via “letters, memos, emails, journals, news articles, recorded talk, tweets, Skype transcripts, and text messages.”
Lindsay Gibbs’s Titanic: The Tennis Story recounts how tennis players and Titanic passengers Dick Williams and Karl Behr met on a rescue ship and went on to become Davis Cup partners—as historical fiction. Unfortunately, the subjects’ descendants aren’t thrilled about the novel, particularly by the fact that the launch party will be sponsored by Iceberg Vodka. The words in poor taste were bandied.
“The first time I went to [the British National Science Fiction Convention], all I could see was a sea of white, male faces … I found it very disheartening, and I knew I could either go away and never go to another con or try to do something about it.”
After writing a poem critical of Israel, Günter Grass has been banned by that country’s Interior Minister.
In honor of the Mets’ fiftieth, you can get e-versions of Jimmy Breslin’s Queens-centric classics.
In honor of the Mets’ sweep, you can read The Paris Review interview with die-hard Mets fan P. G. Wodehouse.