Brian Miller, in Seattle Weekly, opines that the death of George Plimpton “reminds us how the book trade has always relied on celebrity-author endorsements” and says that Dave Eggers “has become the literary arbiter of his generation.” Miller’s assessment is based on Eggers’ selections for Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003. (Thanks to Aaron of Hobart and FIPNTRA for the link.)
Biliotherapists are “psychologists using literature as a therapeutic tool,” and (in case you care) they do not approve of this year’s Booker prize winner: “Of the tale of a Texas high school massacre, a bibliotherapist said, ‘Given current fears about gun crime this might be relevant, but [not] particularly helpful.'” I wonder: under the bibliotherapy scheme, would Chicken Soup for the Soul win the all the major prizes?
Language Hat responds to the news that “Seamus Heaney” is now used as slang for “bikini”:
Now, it occurs to me that rhyming slang usually drops the actual rhyming word, leaving the connection mysterious to the uninitiated: thus china plate = ‘mate’ was quickly reduced to china. If this happens here, the word for ‘bikini’ will be seamus, pronounced exactly like shamus ‘private eye,’ leading to yet more trans-Atlantic misunderstanding and adding to the lexicon available to hard-boiled mystery writers: “The shamus was leering at the seamus on the sheila selling sea-shells by the seashore…”
The winner of the Prix Goncourt award was announced early this year, as a pre-emptive strike. The Literary Saloon offers a good round-up of the prize results and explains that the “Goncourt folk were worried about being upstaged by one of the upstart prizes (specifically the Prix Femina).”
Joe Sacco, “the moral draughtsman,” is “credited with producing two ‘masterpieces of comics journalism’ and praised for bringing the recent history of the Middle East and Bosnia to life more vividly than most journalists and documentary-makers.” Sacco says he is a cartoonist, not a graphic novelist, thankyouverymuch.
Yankee Pot Roast is going to print with Graphology: A Handwritten Journal of Good Things to Read and needs your submissions:
Do you dot your lowercase iâ€™s and jâ€™s with hearts or smiley faces or something mawkish like that? Hey, Y.P.R. does not judge. Do you scribble naughty cartoons in the margins? Great. Do you cross your
7s and your Zs because you are European and/or pretentious? Splendid. Are you are a skillful calligraphist, graffitist, cartoonist, doodler, graphologist, signature forger, Morse code encoder, writer of a language with a nifty non-roman alphabet, like, say, Hebrew or Russian or Greek or Japanese or hieroglyphics or Middle-Earth runes or your own wacky made-up cryptography employing squiggles and blots that is only decipherable to you and your imaginary talking (and reading!) dog, Mr. Nickels? Hey, thatâ€™s freakinâ€™ awesome. And if youâ€™ve just got plain olâ€™ boring handwriting, thatâ€™s O.K. too. The goal here, obviously, is to preserve within the text the distinct character and personality of the author that would otherwise be sacrificed to the cold conformity of Times New Roman or Courier New or that wretched Garamond. Fonts are useful, sure, but each writerâ€™s real writing-writing is wholly unique, like oneâ€™s D.N.A. or thumbprint or secret fantasy.
(Link to Metafilter comments of Mo Nickels rudely added to the original.)