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Posts Tagged ‘Michiko Kakutani’

Free Books That Inspired Barack Obama

President Barack Obama has won the 2012 Presidential election. We’ve collected links to five free eBooks that inspired Obama during his road to the Presidency.

In a 2009 essay, New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani wr0te about the books that inspired the President. Here’s an excerpt:

Mr. Obama’s love of fiction and poetry — Shakespeare’s plays, Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” and Marilynne Robinson‘s “Gilead” are mentioned on his Facebook page, along with the Bible, Lincoln’s collected writings and Emerson’s “Self Reliance“ — has not only given him a heightened awareness of language. It has also imbued him with a tragic sense of history and a sense of the ambiguities of the human condition quite unlike the Manichean view of the world so often invoked by Mr. Bush.

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Mediabistro Course

Food Writing

Food WritingStarting October 8, work with the food features editor at Everyday with Rachel Ray to develop your portfolio! Gabriella Gershenson will teach you how how to write a successful food piece, conceive story ideas, land assignments to get attention from foodies, and build authority in the food writing community. Register now!

Seven Degrees of Michiko Kakutani

This GalleyCat editor loves playing the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Game, connecting celebrities to actor Kevin Bacon in six connections or fewer. Would the same game work in the 21st Century literary world?

On the Morning Media Menu today, cultural critic Mark Dery (pictured) talked about his new collection of essays, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts. While pondering Christian comic creator Jack Chick and YouTube trends, Dery also outlined a version of the Bacon game that could be played with New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani.

Check it out: “The fact that the reviewer is instantly known to the reviewed creates a very odd kind of interaction. The tendrils of social media reach out rhizomatically and seem to connect everybody to everybody. We’re all in the Kevin Bacon game at this point–you know, seven degrees of Michiko Kakutani. Consequently, everybody who reviews you is a friend of a friend of a friend on Facebook or you retweeted them on Twitter or you rubbed elbows with them somehow in cyberspace. And that makes for peculiar social dance.”

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How Bret Easton Ellis Discovered Michiko Kakutani

imperialbed.pngIn an interview with Details magazine, novelist Bret Easton Ellis talked about the 1980s, getting older, and the first time he was reviewed by the NY Times‘ influential critic, Michiko Kakutani.

Here’s an excerpt, talking about a review of Less Than Zero: “I remember not knowing who Michiko Kakutani was. [Laughs] That’s what I remember most about seeing that review. Honestly, I was too young to get it. Everyone else was sort of freaking out that the book even got reviewed in The New York Times–my agent and my editor and other people were extremely excited for me. And I think I was bummed out about some stuff that was going on at Bennington College at the time–like a relationship problem. So yeah, I guess in retrospect that seems pretty remarkable that that book was reviewed there. But as a 21-year-old, I was lost in other more pressing personal problems.”

Ellis’s new novel, Imperial Bedrooms, catches up with the lives of his characters from his debut novel, Less Than Zero–a book that turns 25-year-old this year.

Yann Martel Takes a Critical Hit for Beatrice & Virgil

beatrice.pngAs Yann Martel‘s new novel Beatrice and Virgil hit shelves last week, it drew heavy criticism from reviewers around the country. Interestingly enough, after 29 reviews on Amazon last Friday, the book averaged five-and-a-half stars.

At the Washington Post, Ron Charles took an allusive attack: “I’m sorry, but this allegory is no ‘Animal Farm’ or ‘Watership Down.’ It’s a cloying episode of ‘Winnie the Pooh’ In Which Piglet and Rabbit Are Hacked Apart and Eaten.”

At the NY Times, Michiko Kakutani sharpened her knives: Mr. Martel’s new book, ‘Beatrice and Virgil,’ unfortunately, is every bit as misconceived and offensive as his earlier book was fetching. It, too, features animals as central characters. It, too, involves a figure who in some respects resembles the author. It, too, is written in deceptively light, casual prose.”

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Zach Galifianakis Interviews Novelist John Wray in Deceptively Simple Book Trailer

That Picador book trailer pairs actor Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover and Bored to Death) with novelist John Wray–a short look at Wray’s process while writing his novel, Lowboy.

Just watch the video. We won’t give away the joke, but here’s an answer from the interviewee: “You know what the first thing that I put on the paper is? ‘The end.’ And then I work backwards…’I'll write ‘end’ and then ‘the.’ Then I’ll write, for instance in my last novel, ‘calibration.’”

According to the site, a longer version of the interview will be posted soon. Wray has appeared on these pages before, showing off his Michiko Kakutani tattoo and talking about Roberto Bolano’s 2666.

May 2009: Top Publishing Stories of the Year

alicemunroe.jpgIn May’s biggest headline, a blogger spotted similarities between one paragraph of NY Times columnist and author Maureen Dowd‘s weekend column and a post by Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo. Dowd corrected the mistake, and no disciplinary action was taken.

Novelist John Wray unveiled his tattoo of book reviewer Michiko Kakutani at a reading. GalleyCat went to Puerto Rico with the Hunter S. Thompson Travel Agency.

The literary blogosphere buzzed about a sequel to J.D. Salinger‘s famous novel, “The Catcher in the Rye,” but GalleyCat had some doubts. Finally, Alice Munro (pictured, via) won the £60,000 Man Booker International Prize.

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…

Literary Page Six

For one topsy-turvy night at Joe’s Pub in Manhattan, authors were treated like rock stars, the Farrar, Straus and Giroux staff lounged behind a velvet rope in the VIP booth, and NY Post Page Six reporter Corynne Steindler showed up to cover a couple skinny writers.

Last evening’s star-studded installment of the Happy Ending Music & Reading Series featured Wells Tower, Arthur Phillips, John Wray, and the band, Vampire Weekend.

This video captures the wildest moments, as founder Amanda Stern forced each reader to take an onstage risk–Tower baked unusual cookies, Phillips fought a bull, and the band covered a Tom Petty song. And, as we reported earlier, Wray unveiled his homemade Michiko Kakutani tattoo.

John Wray’s Michiko Kakutani Tattoo

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Few literary critics inspire emotion like NY Times critic, Michiko Kakutani. Some worship her reviews, and others, (like Norman Mailer) wished they could change her mind. Last night, novelist John Wray took the cult of Kakutani to a new level–unveiling this magic marker tattoo.

As part of the Happy Ending Music & Reading Series, founder Amanda Stern requires all performers to take a risk. Joined on stage at Joe’s Pub by Wells Tower, Arthur Phillips, and the band, Vampire Weekend, Wray had some tough competition. Nevertheless, his full-back tattoo read “KAKUTANI 4 EVAH,” eliciting gasps, laughter, and cheers from the audience.

After the jump is an exclusive video of Wray’s performance and tattoo unveiling, complete with a Vampire Weekend chaser. Tune in later today for more music and footage from the event.

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Guess Michiko Downloaded HP7 Off the Internet, Too

Boy, Michiko Kakutani must have read HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS super duper fast (or ordered it off DeepDiscount.com?) in order to get the review filed and on the New York Times’ website by 7 PM last night. Some pullquotes: Rowling has an “astonishingly limber” voice; the book “is, for the most part, a somber book that marks Harry’s final initiation into the complexities and sadnesses of adulthood”; and without revealing much in the way of spoilers, Kakutani ends as follows:

The world of Harry Potter is a place where the mundane and the marvelous, the ordinary and the surreal co-exist. It’s a place where cars can fly and owls can deliver the mail, a place where paintings talk and a mirror reflects people’s innermost desires. It’s also a place utterly recognizable to readers, a place where death and the catastrophes of daily life are inevitable, and people’s lives are defined by love and loss and hope – the same way they are in our own mortal world.

O box, thy name is Pandora.

BEA Day Two: Ethics in Book Reviewing

Immediately after moderating the blog panel, Bud Parr took out his video camera and taped the panel proceedings, which he’s edited into the above highlight show. And considering the star wattage assembled for the panel, highlights abounded.

Moderator and Philly Inquirer book critic Carlin Romano began by rattling off all 37 questions asked as part of the National Book Critics Circle‘s revised survey on book reviewing ethics, commenting with tongue in cheek that the only question all 356 responders agreed on was that they were NBCC members. Then each panelist spoke for about five minutes or so on the nature of ethics and starting with Christopher Hitchens, the consensus was that if it’s not okay to review a friend’s work, it shouldn’t necessarily be taboo, either. “Who knows a writer’s body of work better,” said former NYTBR editor John Leonard of what he termed a “friend of a mind”, adding that such questions are “small potatoes compared to the corruption of a culture at large.”

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