Pynchon Mania

June 21, 2006


Ed has verified (with multiple unnamed and secret sources, because he’s the literary version of a John Le Carre character) that Thomas Pynchon is publishing a new book in December. Let’s hope it’s not another Vineland. By the way, if you’re new to Pynchon, here’s the first three books you should read (in this order):

Gravity’s Rainbow
V
The Crying of Lot 49

I’ve always liked Gravity more than V, because it’s more accessible and funnier. Crying of Lot is just the short bit they give to high schoolers to let them know what good writing is, but I’m assuming you (my loyal reader) are a bit more advanced than that. Crying isn’t bad, it’s just brief. So get to it third. Slow Learner -his early collection of stories, isn’t his best work, but if you want to give it a go, start at the end with “The Secret Integration.”

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Black Clock

June 19, 2006


Edition Five of Black Clock is out, and despite the journal being relatively new, it’s commanding some well-known voices (David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Lethem, Rick Moody, Aimee Bender). The editor and creator of the journal, Steve Erickson, talked at the LA Times book fair in a panel on LA Fiction (hosted by Janet Fitch), and now Black Clock is now targetting Los Angeles fiction. This focus on LA fiction is great for LA writers, because guess what? Not all the writers in So Cal use FinalDraft.

Anyways, here’s the event: Black Clock Reading – at Skylight Books in Silver Lake. June 22, a Thursday, at 7:30 pm. LA Times Post

And, if you haven’t read Steve Erickson’s latest and greatest – Our Estatic Days – do so now at Powell’s Books.

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Product Placement

June 19, 2006

As if we aren’t innudated with enough advertisements – even at the beach, the dry drone of a bi-plane is followed by a banner – now comes product placements in novels (LA Times Article). Brands of lipstick, brands of cola, brands of T-shirts. Despite the poverty that attends the writing profession, I simply can’t swallow it. Or rather, I wouldn’t want it as a reader, and I wouldn’t want to foist it upon my readers as a writer. For one, the author is not attending to the craft, he/she is attending to their pocketbook. For two, nothing dates your novel faster than name-brands.