Critical Notes

8.8.08 Roundup


NBCC board member David L. Ulin speaks about the annoying “embargo” question.

NBCC member Donna Seaman finds Peter Ferry’s new novel, “Travel Writing,” “funny, poignant,” and more.

Former NBCC prez John Freeman on where jokes come from, via Jim Holt’s , “Stop Me if You’ve Heard This.”

NBCC board member Oscar Villalon finds “Underground America,” the new Voices of Witness book from McSweeney’s about undocumented workers,“engrossing.”

Former NBCC board member (and compiler of the invaluable NBCC Freelancing Guide) Steve Weinberg on David Carr’s memoir, “The Night of the Gun,” notes, “Carr’s unique way of researching a memoir will give new meaning to accuracy in an era of fiction passing as fact. Because Carr writes about the media, he is acutely aware of the controversies surrounding the veracity of memoirs.”

Tina Brown is calling her new online news site “The Daily Beast,” inspired by Evelyn Waugh’s 1938 novel “Scoop.”

Dave Rosenthal, who runs the book blog at the Baltimore Sun, is experimenting with features that would be impossible in the printed pages. For example, he says, they asked blog readers about the bookstores they visit on vacation, and created a U.S. map with more than 120 recommendations from Maine to California. Check it out here and add your own favorites to the list. 

NBCC Balakian winner Wyatt Mason: what’s a critic to do if the book leaves him feeling….enthusastic?!

NBCC member Brooke Allen on Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Books-a-Million.

Publishing 2.0’s Scott Karp on the “ethics of the link” and the missed opportunities in newsrooms here.

And lots of literary fodder in L magazine’s “Best of New York” listing, including kudos to Dzanc books’s Roy Kesey story collection (FOUR BEST INDEPENDENT WORKS OF FICTION 2008 (SO FAR) to 192 Books, Bluestockings, and Firebird Books (BEST INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES IN NEW YORK) to Nathan Englander’s “The Ministry of Special Cases” (BEST UNDER-THE-RADAR NOVEL).