Book Links 10/16/12

A couple of tributes to the writer Harvey Pekar are taking shape in and around Cleveland libraries over the next few weeks. The statue looks impressive, and I’ll probably make a trek over there to check it out. I like Pekar’s work, his focus on real people and the every day ins and outs of just getting by. If you’re in the area, check out the statue. Buy some American Splendor gear. Watch the incredible movie starring Paul Giammati. It’s all worth it.
Something I’m a little less sure about: someone using Holden Caulfield in their novel. In the end, it should stand on its own merit. At the same time, it’s choosing not to by hauling Caulfield into its structure, opening the door for such criticism.  I have mixed feelings on it (for the record, not thrilled with pretty much anything like this, from Ahab’s Wife to the various Classic Lit + Monsters mash-ups), but I thought it was worth putting out here.

Harper Lee writes a letter to Oprah. I don’t know why she hasn’t put anything else into print since To Kill A Mockingbird, but every time she does put something out before the public, I can only think her voice is one we needed more of over the years. She is smart, she is truthful. It’s an old letter, from 2006, but this is the first time I’ve seen it. So I’m sharing it.

Finally, Ben Masters (author of Noughties)(which I haven’t read) has a nice article up NYT about literary excess. I’m somewhat ashamed to say I don’t read a lot of literary criticism, though I had to sit through a lot of talks about it as the wife went through her MFA program and everyone talked about what gets published, what’s “in,” etc. And from what I’ve gleamed, Masters is right that there does seem to be a preference for pared down prose that goes straight to the point and goes on to the next point (just the facts).  I think people who actually buy books might agree with Masters, too.  In the world of wallets doing the talking, the average best-seller hovers just under 400 pages.

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