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Posts Tagged ‘John Updike’

Banned Book Trading Cards

To celebrate the 30th annual Banned Books Week, one library in Kansas has gotten artistic. The Lawrence Public Library has created the Banned Books Trading Cards project, a series of drawings inspired by banned books and authors created by local artists.

Each trading card is inspired by a banned book or author. There is one for each day of the week.  The week kicked off with an homage to George Orwell‘s Animal Farm (pictured right) created by artist Barry Fitzgerald, followed by an homage to Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, drawn by Kent Smith. Today’s card by an artist known as Webmocker, celebrates John Updike’s Rabbit, Run.

Here is the artist’s statement: “Burning and otherwise destroying books being a favorite activity of censors, deconstruction seemed an appropriate approach to this tattered (literally falling apart as I read it) copy of Rabbit, Run.  Coincidentally, this book was purchased at the Friends of the Lawrence Public Library book sale.”

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Madavor Media Acquires The Writer Lit Mag

Madavor Media, a niche-focused media company based in Boston, has acquired the literary magazine The Writer, in a deal whose terms were not disclosed. Through the deal, Madavor has gained the rights to the print, web, and digital properties of the magazine from midwestern media company Kalmbach Publishing.

VP/Group Publisher for Madavor Susan Fitzgerald mentioned plans for expansion, stating: “We will continue to deliver the quality and authoritative content readers and advertisers expect, and we intend to take both magazines to new and engaging places.”

In March, The Writer celebrated its 125th year anniversary. The magazine was founded in Boston and was run independently until it was sold to Kalmbach Publishing in 2000. Since then has been run out of the Milwaukee area. Since 2007, Jeff Reich has served as the publication’s editor-in-chief. Authors who have graced the pages of the magazine include: Ray Bradbury, Patricia Cornwell, Jonathan Franzen, Gail Godwin, Pete Hamill, Stephen King, Sinclair Lewis, W. Somerset Maugham, Terry McMillan, Joyce Carol Oates, Anne Perry, May Sarton and John Updike. (Via Sarah Weinman)

John Updike’s Childhood Home to Be Museum

The John Updike Society has finalized a contract to purchase John Updike‘s home for $200,000.

Located in the Pennsylvania town of Shillington, Updike lived in the home for thirteen years as a child. John Updike Society president James Plath announced that the organization plans to make the house a historic site and convert it into an operational museum.

Here’s more from Reading Eagle: “Out of respect for the residential neighborhood, Plath said, he expects the historic site to be open only by appointment and not list regular hours. Plath said he has researched the operations of similar historic sites that were once authors’ homes, including the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians in Columbus, Ga., and the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery, Ala.”

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David Foster Wallace Archive Finds a Home

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Yesterday the University of Texas at Austin’s Harry Ransom Center acquired the archive of writer David Foster Wallace. The collection includes annotated books from the author’s bookshelf, like that scribble-filled copy (pictured, via) of Suttree by Cormac McCarthy.

The collection contains a vast sample of the late author’s writing life: poems, stories and letters he wrote as a young man; college writings and teaching materials; and “heavily annotated books by Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, John Updike and more than 40 other authors.” In addition, Wallace’s agent, Bonnie Nadell (of the Frederick Hill Bonnie Nadell agency), wrote a touching introduction to the collection.

Here’s more from Nadell: “[W]hat scholars and readers will find fascinating I think is that as messy as David was with how he kept his work, the actual writing is painstakingly careful. For each draft of a story or essay there are levels of edits marked in different colored ink, repeated word changes until he found the perfect word for each sentence, and notes to himself about how to sharpen a phrase until it met his exacting eye. Having represented David from the beginning of his writing career, I know there were people who felt David was too much of a ‘look ma no hands’ kind of writer, fast and clever and undisciplined. Yet anyone reading through his notes to himself will see how scrupulous they are.”

Remembering Howard Zinn, Louis Auchincloss, and J.D. Salinger

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It was a sad week for the literary world as we lost scholar Howard Zinn, author Louis Auchincloss, and the great J.D. Salinger.

Various writers and journalists around the web have memorialized these great writers. At New York, Boris Kachka wrote a tribute to Auchincloss: “He was–because of long life and his Whartonian style–a living anachronism. But his lament was less for a vanished class than for a bygone sense of shame. He understood that, whether in a feudal world or a meritocracy, power means nothing without responsibility.”

Editor Chris Kubica told us about the thousands of fans who have written letters to Salinger over the years.

Over at Classics Rock, Larry Hughes collected all the rock songs that reference the work of Zinn. He also compiled a list of all the songs inspired by The Catcher in the Rye.

Finally, cartoonist Jeffrey Koterba sent in that lovely cartoon to celebrate Salinger’s legacy in the 21st Century. Click here to see his tribute to John Updike.

A Brief History of J. D. Salinger Reviews

9780316769020_94X145.jpgAuthor J.D. Salinger passed away today, generating thousands of posts around the Internet. In honor of this great writer, we’ve collected a few links to the evolving critical opinion of Salinger’s work.

In 1951, James Stern wrote one of those ‘I’ll write like a character in the novel’ book reviews that never quite work. Dig it: “This Salinger, he’s a short story guy. And he knows how to write about kids. This book though, it’s too long. Gets kind of monotonous. And he should’ve cut out a lot about these jerks and all at that crumby school. They depress me.”

In 1961, the great John Updike reviewed Franny and Zooey. Check it out: “His fiction, in its rather grim bravado, its humor, its morbidity, its wry but persistent hopefulness, matches the shape and tint of present American life. It pays the price, however, of becoming dangerously convoluted and static. A sense of composition is not among Salinger’s strengths, and even these two stories, so apparently complementary, distinctly jangle as components of one book.”

In 2004, Jonathan Yardley pondered The Catcher in the Rye. “What most struck me upon reading it for a second time was how sentimental — how outright squishy — it is. The novel is commonly represented as an expression of adolescent cynicism and rebellion — a James Dean movie in print — but from first page to last Salinger wants to have it both ways.”

Finally, in an engaging essay, Janet Malcolm revived the reputation of Salinger’s Franny and Zooey. Here’s an excerpt: “Today Zooey does not seem too long, and is arguably Salinger’s masterpiece. Rereading it and its companion piece Franny is no less rewarding than rereading The Great Gatsby. It remains brilliant and is in no essential sense dated. It is the contemporary criticism that has dated.”

If you want to read more, Literary History has a collection of links. As GalleyCat Reviews grows, we will feature daily links to excellent literary criticism. If you think a book review you wrote should be featured for our audience, email GalleyCat a link.

Sex and the 21st Century Male Writer

updike23.pngCan contemporary male authors write a good sex scene? In a NY Times Book Review essay this weekend, cultural critic Katie Roiphe argued that male authors have lost their taste for steamy sex.

Here’s a sample: “The current sexual style is more childlike; innocence is more fashionable than virility, the cuddle preferable to sex. Prototypical is a scene in Dave Eggers‘s road trip novel, ‘You Shall Know Our Velocity,’ where the hero leaves a disco with a woman and she undresses and climbs on top of him, and they just lie there.”

The article comes complete with hot pink charts measuring sex scenes by writers like John Updike (pictured, via) against David Foster Wallace‘s generation–rating the rusults on a thermometer scale ranging from “Cuddling” to “Sex” to “Outrageous Behavior.”

What do you think? A Jewish Daily Forward essay argues the opposite: “We are a different society, not in terms of how we have sex, but in terms of its public presence–it takes eleven mistresses to raise our dander. Writers no longer feel compelled to up the ante; in fact, today’s shy literary heroes may be reacting genuinely to our over-saturated culture, a culture that feeds us false ideals of how and when we’re supposed to get it on.” (Via Ami Greko)

Top Publishing Stories of the Year: January 2009

obama_portrait_146px.jpgJanuary 2009 dawned with a flurry of layoffs and closures around the industry, but a few happy stories broke that cold month as well. An accidental book trailer for an out-of-print book scored 30 million views on YouTube. The iPhone digital reader Stanza counted one million downloads, making headlines for a scrappy start-up.

There was plenty of sad news. Novelist John Updike passed away. Layoffs rocked Publishers Weekly and Criticas magazine closed. Book World, the Washington Post‘s book supplement, ceased stand-alone print publication. Online, the closure of the Ficlets writing site sent waves through the digital writing community.

Finally, booksellers, writers, and this GalleyCat editor attended the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Welcome to GalleyCat’s annual year-end roundup of publishing headlines. It’s a chance to celebrate our good news and reflect on our bad news after a long, challenging year for the industry. Visit our Year in Review link to read all about what happened to publishing in 2009. Include your favorite headlines in the comments section…

The Bestselling Contemporary Poetry of 2009

18ebc05be912d9001e10c6ce757a5aa3.jpgGraywolf Press published the year’s top-selling poetry book, Elizabeth Alexander‘s presidential long poem: “Praise Song for the Day: A Poem for Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration.”

Poetry Foundation compiled a list of the Bestselling Contemporary Poetry of 2009 list, a sales glimpse at a genre with a small, dedicated audience. Other titles on the bestseller list included “Endpoint and Other Poems” by John Updike.

Here’s an excerpt, along with links to more poetic bestsellers: “Every week, the Poetry Foundation compiles information from Nielsen Bookscan and puts together lists of the best selling books of poetry. There’s a list for books by contemporary poets, a list for anthologies, and a list for books of children’s poetry.”

Details: Gen X Men Do Read Books

details.jpgToday Details magazine unveiled the 25 Greatest Gen X Books of All Time, giving GalleyCat an exclusive peek at the picks. The colorful list includes everything from “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz to “Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus” by Rick Perlstein.

GalleyCat caught up with Details‘ Deputy Editor Chis Raymond to find out more about the list. He explained the cutoff age for writers: “After a lot of heated discussion, we ended up settling on 1960 as the cut-off date. That, of course, meant guys like William T. Vollmann didn’t make the cut, which launched a whole new round of arguments. But that’s what makes the project fun. We wanted to point out that there were some literary giants who were born after John Updike and Norman Mailer. But you can’t name every one.”

Finally, he argued against the stereotype that men don’t read books: “I don’t buy that argument. Men may not buy as many books as women, but we read. We read the the Wall Street Journal and Malcolm Gladwell‘s New Yorker stories and Bill Simmons’ column on ESPN.com. If a story’s good enough to merit our attention, we’ll find it and read it. Just look at the features in men’s magazines. They’re often much meatier than the fare you find in women’s magazines. What does that tell you? That guys aren’t afraid to spend an hour reading a great piece of writing … And because Details readers are sophisticated when it comes to modern media, they can appreciate the confessions of Motley Crue every bit as much as Dexter Filkins on the Iraq War.”

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