Selections from last week’s mail

Josh of YPR and a few others respond to my post about mispronounced words, in which I said, “Public high school in Miami stomped all that kind of dialect out of me.” These kind souls try to prevent me from embarrassing myself:

Er… according to that list the Miami Board of Ed stAmped dialect of that kind out of you, but I’ll maintain that stOmp has sure got its place.

That’s what happens: I try to be funny but just prove I’m ignorant. I’m gonna put some duck duct tape over my mouth and go sit in the corner.

Susan Ramsey of the Athena Book Shop in Kalamazoo is as taken as I was with the excerpt I posted from Charles PortisThe Dog of the South:

If Portis … is suddenly puzzled by wealth, it will be your fault. This independent bookseller, at least, is ordering him in on the strength of the passage you quoted.

Last week I mentioned the Guardian report that J.K. Rowling won her first adult prize. Ed of Return of the Reluctant takes me to task for failing to offer insight beyond the standard media spin:

Why dwell on Rowling when the REAL prize, the literary one handed out by judges, is the one worth watching? Nestled within all the newswire blurbs was the news that this went to Richard Powers, who is one of those mysteriously grand American novelists who gets more recognition in European and Midwest circles. But with the fifth book coming out in September, again he’s trumped unfortunately by the outlets.

And Nick Mamatas points out that Rowling has won an adult prize before:

The article you linked to in the Guardian about JK Rowling’s first adult writing prize is incomplete — she won the 2001 Hugo Award for Best Novel for HP And The Goblet of Fire. The Hugo is the SF award voted on by attendees of the annual World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) and is certainly an adult prize. Previous Hugo winners include Gibson (Neuromancer), Stephenson (The Diamond Age), John Brunner (Stand On Zanzibar) Dick (The Man In The High Castle) and other incontrovertibly adult novelists. Perhaps Guardian meant “cash” prize as opposed to the standard trophy and accolades of a non-cash prize?

Jeff of Syntax of Things writes:

Your post about writers and place made me think of Harper Lee. I grew up a short drive from Monroeville, her hometown. Let me tell you, it’s about as literary a place as the Meadowlands. I’m quite sure that she would never have written the same novel without the distance that her studies in England or her time in NY gave her.

Two friends and fellow recovering Elvis Costello fanatics are less than thrilled to learn of EC’s forthcoming books. Craig says:

What’s next? The songs of Elvis Costello on Broadway, a’la “Moving Out?” How about a variety show? The Elvis and Diana Krall Show! With their special guests Oscar winner Charlize Theron, recording artist Burt Bacharach, and the comedy stylings of Shields and Yarnell! Or wait, how about a morning talk show with Elvis? It’s the Morning Zoo with Elvis Costello!!!

I like how he and Diana Krall had a press conference to announce their dual tours. They informed us that they will be apart for long periods of time, but coordinated dates and locations to give them long breaks to spend together. Seriously. It was on Yahoo news. They had microphones and everything.



From Darice:

I saw him on the Oscar red carpet with new wifey, who looked quite bland and blond. I know she is a talented performer in her own right but she was definitely playing understudy to him and possibly not quite sanguine about that.

Rose Gowen offers some perspective on reports that Richard Ford spat on Colson Whitehead after stewing for two years over a bad review:

I wonder if anyone remembers the story about Richard Ford shooting a hole through Alice Hoffman’s novel after she gave him a bad review…

From Robert Birnbaum’s interview with him:

Birnbaum: Is it too early to know what the world thinks of this book?

Ford: I’ve heard some things. A terrible review in The Sunday New York Times.

Birnbaum: Are you going to go out and shoot it? Is that a true story that your wife took a pistol and shot a bad review Alice Hoffman gave you?

Ford: Yes, it is a true story. Shot her book. Seemed so good to do. We had another copy so I went out and shot it. I don’t read my reviews anymore.

Birnbaum: Well, that might save you on ammunition.

Barton K. Yeary recalls the same anecdote but provides a different source:

This is the same Richard Ford who, as he has proudly described in interviews, once reacted to a bad review by the writer Alice Hoffman by taking a copy of her book, shooting it with a handgun, and mailing the perforated copy to her.

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