Books: Word Up

Friday, 19 October 2007

This Thing Is A Lot Like That Thing

There's something vaguely diabolical about Jessica Seinfeld's book, Deceptively Delicious. The basic concept is that you hide good-for-you things like spinach and sweet potatoes in yummy things like brownies and mac & cheese. Except 1) People say her recipes are actually disgusting and 2) She may have stolen the ideas from another lady who thought of those gross combinations first. We smell another Frey-gate. Oprah is going to shit bricks now!

We're also extremely disturbed by this Raymond Carver debate that's been happening in literary circles over the past week. While it might seem tantalizing to read What We Talk About When We Talk About Love in its original form, we're pretty sure we wouldn't like it as much. Republishing it: not a good idea. This whole situation brings to mind a lot of questions about the editor-writer relationship and the idea of "making a literary legend." Who would Gordon Lish be without Carver's concepts, his words, his story ideas? Where would Carver be without Lish's ruthless red pen? More to the point, why is Tess Gallagher so hell-bent on showing the world a product that probably isn't nearly as good as it turned out to be in final form? Carver may not have been the brilliant minimalist he's pegged as in literary history, but clearly, he had issues with the style he is credited with inventing:

Also in the Lilly Library is a seven-page letter, dated July 8, 1980, which Carver wrote to Mr. Lish as he readied “What We Talk About” for the printing presses. In it Carver pleaded with Mr. Lish, “Please do the necessary things to stop production of the book.”

Tricky, tricky. Being edited is a difficult, often very painful process, but the truth is--for the most part--the work almost always benefits from it. Although, doesn't the author have a right to his own legacy? This whole situation is just so CARVER-y though--the drama, the darkness, the uncertainty. God, we need a drink! And a cigarette. Except we don't smoke. SIGH.

Final thought: In J-school, a professor we had, who spent years writing features for the Wall Street Journal and had two non-fiction titles (that actually sold well!) under his belt told us that he didn't know shit about writing a book until his editor "taught" him how. As in, they had a lot of conversations about the subject and the pitch and the this and the that, and over the course of their relationship, he learned how to write the book he wanted to write--from his editor. Who else is doing this? How far does it actually go?

10/19/2007 14:53:01 by Sharon | Comments [0] | Trackback 

Friday, 12 October 2007

Friday Literary Links: Ungrateful Edition

The Washington Post has a story on the latest winner of the Nobel Prize in literature. Oh, those sweet-talking Brits:

Doris Lessing was out grocery shopping near her home in London yesterday when the Swedish Academy announced she had won the 2007 Nobel Prize in literature. She returned from the store to find a media circus, the wire services reported.

"Oh Christ!" she said, when told about the monumental honor. "I couldn't care less."

10/12/2007 11:26:33 by Sharon | Comments [0] | Trackback 

Tuesday, 09 October 2007

Wednesday: Iron Chef Morimoto at the BU Barnes & Noble

Masaharu Morimoto is our favorite (and always underrated - God those judges are fools) Iron Chef. He'll be making an appearance on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at the Boston University Barnes & Noble to promote his new cookbook, Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking. According to our press release, in addition to the booksigning, BU has asked Mirimoto to demonstrate his recipes for the Seminars in the Culinary Arts:

Because of public demand, the University will be presenting Morimoto twice on October 10, at 3 p.m. and 7p.m. The cost for attending either session is $70 and includes an autographed copy of his book, samples of his recipes and an opportunity to meet the “Iron Chef.” For more information and to register for a demo visit, or call 617/353/9852.

Tastes like fun.

10/09/2007 17:30:27 by Sharon | Comments [2] | Trackback 

Friday, 05 October 2007

Angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night

Yesterday, Pacifica Radio broadcast an uncensored version of Allen Ginsberg reading his seminal poem "HOWL." Oct 3 marked the 50th annivesary of a court ruling that determined "HOWL" was not obscene, but a work of social and literary merit. It's awesome. Stream the reading here, at Pacifica's website, follow along with the full text here, and watch him briefly chit-chatting about the wonders of technology below:

10/05/2007 10:13:36 by Sharon | Comments [1] | Trackback 

Tuesday, 02 October 2007

What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream

Today, researching a story about celebrity comebacks sent us scurrying back in time for an Internet refresher course on the history of spin and PR. Edward Berneys, the "father of public relations," was responsible for originating the idea that a company product or a celebrity's image could be revitalized if you tapped into the emotions of the public. He wrote a book, Propaganda, which was published in 1928, and you can read a fascinating excerpt of it here. Dig the Chomsky introduction.

Berney's most stunning PR coup was how he single-handedly made it acceptable - and desirable - for women to smoke. A psychologist told him (for a large sum of money, no favors in this business), that cigarettes represented penises, and if women associated smoking with independence, power, and freedom, it would be like they were lighting up their own dicks every time they bought a pack of Lucky Strikes. Below, YouTube explains how he spin-doctored "Torches of Freedom":


More on this later, but for now, we wonder how Bernays would have engineered a Britney Spears comeback after yesterday's custody and tanning salon mess. Alternative suggestions are welcome.

10/02/2007 14:18:21 by Sharon | Comments [0] | Trackback 


RSS 2.0

On The Phoenix's books blog, we obsess over literature so that you don't have to. Reviews, readings, news, and literary gossip. Levar Burton might not have wanted you to take his word for it. But we do.

This Thing Is A Lot Like That Thing
Friday Literary Links: Ungrateful Edition
Wednesday: Iron Chef Morimoto at the BU Barnes & Noble
Angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night
What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream




Copyright © 2006 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group