01 September 2005

Return of the Blog

Despite what some people think ([cough] Mike Allen [cough]), I did not spend my time away from here just sitting in the yard and drinking gin & tonics. But I got a bunch of things done that needed it, and am now ready to roll with whatever rolls around here. First, some catch-up...

I don't need to tell you about the hurricane, or to suggest donations are humane. Mike Morrow has suggested that LitBloggers give their book-buying money for the month to the relief effort; since my book-buying budget is now not more than $20/month (income having changed rather drastically recently), I sent more than that to the Red Cross and Noah's Wish. The blogosphere has had plenty of information of all sorts. I've been paying particular attention to About Last Night, Making Light, Ed Champion, and Boing Boing. Kathryn Cramer has had some interesting posts, as has Crooked Timber. David Moles is paying attention to the politics. The best single post I've read is Cherie Priest's thoughts on looting, economics, and disaster. Maud Newton has reminded us of New Orleans's rich literary history. The Times-Picayune can't publish a physical paper, but they're still going strong online.

If reading more about the disaster is not what you want, well, here are some other links I've gathered in the past ten days, some of which I'm sure are old familiars by now:
  • The new SF Site has been posted, and includes my rather odd and perhaps even silly review of Christopher Priest's excellent novel The Glamour.

  • While I was gone, author Kate Atkinson put up some posts at The LitBlog Co-Op about her book Case Histories, how she writes, what she thinks, etc. Keep your eyes on the LBC, as we will soon be unveiling the next Read This selection, which is likely to be just as controversial as the first one was.

  • The NYT reported that Richard Foreman, an institution in the avant-garde theatre scene of New York, has released his notebooks online for anybody to use to create plays from, since that's what he does with them. Reading Foreman texts doesn't really give a sense of what it's like to see one of his shows (sensory overload), but I find them fascinating nonetheless.

  • Fafblog interviewed the Democrats

  • Aaron Haspel slaughters Camille Paglia's poetry anthology.

  • A tremendously amusing interview with Peter Akroyd
    "I find bad reviews, when I do read them, more energising than good ones, which aren't interesting." I've never heard a writer say that before. So he wants constructive criticism? "No," he says slyly, peering round his wine glass, "that's the worst criticism of all. I like abuse! Abuse is what keeps the world going round. Abuse is great. You need it to keep you up in the air."
    (via Splinters)

  • Laila Lalani is blogging from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. I attended Bread Loaf back in the summer of 2000, and it was an extraordinary experience, one I still feel I'm learning from. Laila has already noted attending a lecture by Charles Baxter, who is a genius when it comes to looking at how fiction works. If you write fiction and haven't read his Burning Down the House : Essays on Fiction, you are missing the best single book on writing I know of other than John Gardner's The Art of Fiction.

  • SovLit.com has gathered a bunch of material by and about Andrei Platonov, including some new translations. Don't know Platonov's work? You're in for a treat. His The Fierce and Beautiful World is an extraordinary collection of stories, and his novels are also well worth reading. (via Languor Management)

  • The Complete Review has rounded up some reviews of Zoran Zivkovic.

  • Jeff and Ann VanderMeer have metamorphosed into a bookstore.