• I mentioned last night that Alan Hollinghurst won the 2004 Man Booker Prize. 3 AM’s Booker blog covered the prize ceremonies, minute by minute. If you need more, here‘s all the commentary on Hollinghurst’s triumph, and the BBC has a story on the effects of a Booker Prize win:

    The accolade of Booker prize winner provides a huge boost to a book’s sales, with the last three winners each selling over half a million copies.

  • The Bush administration will continue to allow the National Parks Department, a government agency, to sell a creationist book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah’s flood rather than by geologic forces. The administration misled members of Congress and the public into believing that the decision to allow the book to be sold was “under review at the national level by several offices.” A Freedom of Information Act inquiry is said to reveal that “no such review took place.”
  • George Saunders heralds Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, saying the book exploded his preconceptions about literature. Here’s his pre-Slaughterhouse take:

    My understanding of literature at this time was: Great Writing was Hard Reading. If written properly, you could barely understand it. Often, a scene I was imagining indoors suddenly sprouted stars and a riverfront. At a fictional dinner party where I had understood there to be three people present, six were suddenly required, based on the sudden appearance of three unfamiliar names. In terms of language, Great Writing was done in a language that had nothing to do with the one you spoke. The words were similar, but arranged more cleverly, less directly. A good literary sentence was like a floor with a hole hidden in it.

    (Via Moorish Girl.)

  • A Times of London review of Eccentric Edinburgh makes the book “sound closer to a satiric novel than a travel guide,” says John Rambow. What better resource is there for planning your visit to the world’s first city of literature?
  • The Tale Of Peter Rabbit has been translated into Lowland Scots, in an “act of appropriation . . . overseen by The Beatrix Potter Society,” and the result, The Tale o Peter Kinnen, “with the same illustrations found in the English edition”:

    will require most readers to consult their Chambers Dictionary or at least ransack their memory: “Maister McGregor wis doon on his hunkers settin aff sma kail, but he louped up an ran efter Peter, waggin a scartle an roarin oot, ‘Stop briganner!’ ” This roughly translates as “Mister McGregor was squatting down planting young cabbages, but he leapt up and ran after Peter, waving a rake and shouting, ‘Stop thief!'”


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