Busy week miscellany explosion

  • Velocity, a free Louisville weekly, will serialize a ZZ Packer short story in the coming months. For October the newspaper is running Chris Offut’s “The Hook Up” in four parts. (Many thanks to Lauren G. for the news.)
  • Luc Sante argues that the work of H.P. Lovecraft — whose inclusion in the Library of America would have shocked founder Edmund Wilson — “is all less reminiscent of Poe or Mary Shelley than of Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards.”
  • Mark Sarvas reviews two recent books about genius mathematician Alan Turing, an eccentric chap “given to riding his bicycle in a gas mask and wearing his pants held up with string.”
  • Scott McLemee reads Robert Frost’s recently discovered “War Thoughts at Home,” published three and a half years into World War I. “By then,” according to McLemee, “the occasion for high rhetoric was over; the carnage seemed endless, pointless. The poem…. seems very much of its moment — and the timing of its rediscovery now is remarkable.”
  • “Did [Martin] Amis really think he could simply dress up one of his middle-class English bad boys in a series of Russian costumes, and pass him off as authentic?” (Via.)
  • Gary Shteyngart spends ten days with Oblomov. (Says Languor Management: “It looks like someone was assigned a book review to write for the Times but never really quite got around to reviewing it. There should be more reviews like this, I say! It captures the spirit of Goncharov’s Oblomov precisely.”)
  • Alasdair Gray calls God “one of the most interesting and recurring characters in fiction,” although Gray’s “own religious belief inclines to the William Blake school, who at one point said that God arrives with a bang on the head, then Jesus Christ with a poultice to put on it.”
  • Upon learning that users who download Slaughterhouse-Five from a new e-book retailer will have to flip through ads for Verizon’s “Chocolate” mobile phone, Kurt Vonnegut snapped, “‘This is just tasteless,’ and hung up the phone.”
  • As her latest novel appears, Margaret Drabble tells Sheena Hastings that she doesn’t plan to set foot in the U.S. again. (“Anti-Americanism rises up inside me like acid reflux,” she says.)
  • “The Romance is Gone”: George Murray evokes the plight of Harlequin in verse.
  • And finally: Michael Schaub, much missed these past months, writes about his brother Randy’s illness. “In my house is a copy of The House of Breath he gave me for my birthday,” he says. “And I either have to read it or I can’t bear to.”



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