September 30th, 2010 / 3:42 pm


Christian Lorentzen does the Malcolm Gladwell.

The Guardian Books Blog on “How Writers Review their Critics.”

Elif Batuman’s epic piece in the NYTimes Magazine on the purgatory of some of Kafka’s papers.

There’s a great piece over at The Millions on what it means to be a “best bookstore” and how, contra the insidious “death of books/bookstores/reading/literacy” meme that we’re all always seeing spread around, there’s actually a lot to be excited about on these fronts. Among the other fun stuff in the piece, is this offhand list of “the top 10 booksellers in America …  Stephanie Anderson from WORD, Emily Pullen from Skylight, Michele Filgate from Riverrun, Rachel Fershleiser from Housing Works…”. The article also mentions a crucial point first made–by Rachel F.–on the Housing Works blog, that many of the best bookstores in NYC have opened rather than closed within the last ten years. Counter-meme, anyone?

Every time you think you know Joshua Cohen, he finds something else to surprise you with. Apparently, homeboy has been (or is now?) publishing a new unpublished piece of short fiction every week on his website. Check out the Paragraph for Liu Xaiobo.

And finally, something I was right about. Remember back when we were talking about the suicide of Kevin Morrissey at the VQR? In a comment on that post, I argued that the charges of “workplace bullying” leveled against VQR editor Ted Genoways appeared off-base and reductive. I suggested that people read Emily Bazelon’s Slate reporting on the Phoebe Prince case. Well, a couple of days ago Slate published a big new piece by Bazelon about the VQR, what workplace bullying really is (and isn’t), and how the media made a caricature out of Ted Genoways. You should go read that piece right now.



  1. Tim

      I second that Bazelon piece. It strikes as balanced reportage of the situation w/ respect for both angles, while echoing Tom Bissell’s (I think) critiques of the bullying experts who threw themselves into the mess.

  2. Steve

      I know they have good readings, and I don’t want to seem like I’m hating on a small, independent bookstore, but I don’t really get WORD being singled out as one of the great bookstores. Purely as a place to find interesting books, I think there a lot of better places in NYC – Unnameable, Bookthug, St. Marks, Housing Works (glad to see them mentioned), even Spoonbill. Granted, a couple of those are primarily used bookstores, which is maybe apples and oranges. Somebody tell me why I’m wrong about WORD – they seem nice there, and I wish I liked it more.

  3. zusya

      liu xiaobo is the man. if there’s any justice in the world, he’s china’s nelson mandela.

  4. deadgod

      During his lifetime, Franz Kafka burned an estimated 90 percent of his work.

      Really? – ninety percent?? He left 3 (three) unfinished novels unpublished and un”burned”; so he “burned” 27 (twenty-seven) novels – ‘finished’ or not – or that many pages of stories? At a conservative 250 (two hundred and fifty) pages per “burned” novel (or its page-length equivalent), that’s 6750 (six thousand, seven hundred and fifty) pages of “burned […] work”. (And that’s not counting the few hundred pages of Kafka stories that are ‘10%’ of what else Kafka “burned”.)

      Who’s responsible for this ‘estimation’? Is Batuman credulously peddling a groovy, but nonsensical, Republistat?

      And when else could Kafka have “burned” any of his “work”?