Litblog Roundup is a bi-weekly overview of topics, trends and highlights from the literary Internet. In this roundup: Harper Lee’s new/old book, rejection letters, the poetics of information overload, and more.
Illustrated Book Reviews
GalleyCat reports that the New York Times has published what it calls “visual book reviews” for a special issue of the Sunday Book Review. The web page for the publication asks, “Must a book review take the form of prose — or can it be pure image?” An interesting hypothesis: too bad the result is really just book reviews illustrated by visual artists, with written reviews, also about the books.
To Publish a Prototype
This is the month that Lee Harper (should not have) published another book, “Go Set a Watchman.” Quartz, which is a website famous for its data journalism, has a detailed analysis of the parts of Harper’s two books that directly overlap, which supports the strong suspicion that this new book is simply a prototype for To Kill a Mockingbird. Speaking of mocking, another enjoyable response is The Onion’s “Harper Lee Announces Third Novel, “My Excellent Caretaker Deserves My Entire Fortune.” Jokes aside, there are important things to consider with this new book, so it’s interesting that there’s an ongoing blog sympoisum with a call for posts about the book.
Literature in an Information Age
A couple of blogs have recent posts about the complicated place of literature in an information age, and for once it isn’t the old “death of books” routine. Berfrois has an excerpt from an essay that asks “Why on Earth would you start a literary magazine?” and includes an impressive list of them before delving into a discussion of literary magazines as the precious, delicate things that they are. Guernica, which is one such literary magazine has an essay on something called “the poetics of information overload.” The essay reminds us that “more data has been created and stored since the turn of the millennium than in the entire history of humanity” and speculates that the literary avant-garde may provide tools that we can use to cope with it all.
Nook Store Closes
Do you have one of the Nook e-reader tablets? If so, how do you like it? Do you have a Nook e-reader tablet and you live in Europe? If so, you’ll have to get your books from another source, because Barnes and Noble has announced that it will shut down the International Nook Store in August. Does this mean that iPad and Kindle are now the Coke and Pepsi options for people who like to read e-books? Is that a good thing?
Thanks but no Thanks
Litbloggers love to write about rejection letters. This is primarily because they love writing, they hope to publish that writing, and that hope tends to result in rejection letters. Lately, the Missouri Review has an interesting musing on “Plotting Grand Literary Successes in the Midst of Numerically Disastrous Odds” and Hyperallergic reviews a new book that includes copies of real rejection letters, entitled Dear Artist, We Regret to Tell You.