Palahniuk wants to take it to thirty, more

Chuck Palahniuk acknowledges that twenty-seven fans have blacked out at recent readings. He tells William Leith that he hopes to make it thirty:

“I’ll hear a murmur in the crowd and I’ll look up,” he explains, “and I’ll see people’s hands slide off their legs, their shoulders will round, their head will sort of fall like a bird, and they’ll just slide to the floor. The whole crowd goes crazy. Two people have been hospitalised. I’m hoping we can get the number of people who pass out to 30, because 30 would be a good number.”

Unfortunately, Michiko Kakutani has written a review of celebrity children’s books in fairy tale format. Partly. TMFTML dulls the pain by composing his own fairy tale about Michiko’s grudging acceptance of the assignment.

Joyce Carol Oates gives Booker Prize winner Vernon God Little a mixed review in The New Yorker. Sales of the novel have increased exponentially since the prize announcement and the revelations about the author’s past that accompanied it. (Via Arts Journal and A&L Daily, respectively.)

From Helen Brown’s latest Telegraph diary entry: “According to The Language Report, by Susie Dent, ‘Seamus Heaney’ is now rhyming slang for ‘bikini’.”

Jim White believes that literary lists (such as the Observer’s recent top 100 greatest novels) are irrelevant, that sales numbers tell the real story:

The identity of the piece of fiction that sold more than any other last year, the one that is thus by all commercial considerations the nation’s favourite, might surprise you.

It is not a Dickens or a Trollope, it is not by Martin Amis or Ian McEwan, nor even Terry Pratchett or Barbara Taylor Bradford. According to research conducted by the Radio 4 programme Open Book, it was Shopaholic Abroad by Sophie Kinsella. This is a sex-and-shopping book.

Anya Kamenetz argues:

Political fictions are far too much about lately, spewing from spokespeople and pundits alike, bald-faced, cowardly, obfuscatory. Good political fiction is a rarer commodity. These 29 stories by many well-known talents (ZZ Packer, Anthony Swofford, Charles Baxter) are all overtly and bravely grounded in ‘recent events,’ from the war in Iraq to the Patriot Act.

(Via New Pages.)


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