The Sunday Book Blog Roundup

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Greetings and salutations! I’m Michael Berger, today’s guest-editor.  I’ve spent my last few days off sipping coffee and drifting through the labyrinth of book blogs. Which was terrific, because most of my work week was spent moving a bookstore. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the 25 year old San Francisco used bookstore Phoenix Books is not only not going out of business but they are now in a place that is twice as big and beautiful. Good news indeed!

This week, adventure and bold innovation are infecting the literary world.  Crime writers, fantasists and proponents of The New Weird are infiltrating the conventional genres and improving and expanding them. I’m also surprised at how our famous and infamous elders are still in the game and devoted to the perseverance of the written word. Much more after the fold.

American Fiction Notes has a fascinating Q&A with Robert Goolrick who discusses his lengthy, occasionally desperate attempts to track down the notoriously reclusive writer Thomas Pynchon.

At the Guardian UK, Jean Edelstein ponders the double standards when it comes to writing about sex. Mostly she wonders why the female publisher of the Erotic Review thinks that women can’t write about sex. Excuse me?

Just when you thought Wichita, Kansas didn’t produce any crazy, bohemian post-war poets, Jack Magazine talks to one, Charles Plymell.  (Via Silliman’s Blog)

Ray Bradbury, the man who basically made my childhood, is almost 90 and is fighting heroically on behalf of the Ventura County Library. He talks to the NY Times about Bo Derek, the distractions of the  Internet and why he fights for libraries.  “Libraries raised me,” Mr. Bradbury said. “I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. . .”

At Guernica, Katherine Dunn, the author of the legendary circus freak noir Geek Love, talks about her fascination with boxing and her new book about it, One Ring Circus.  Boxing, according to Dunn,  is a “very peculiar subculture which is built on and devoted to violence, but has a remarkably friendly and often quite hilarious aspect to it.” And damn if that doesn’t sound like a lot of American pastimes!

Ecstatic Days publishes their  full-length interview with the “New Weird” maestro, China Mieville, whose recent novel, The City And The City, an urban fantasy/crime novel was one of the most anticipated books of the year. The interview pivots on Mieville’s impassioned defense of the integrity of monsters: “None of this is to say that monsters don’t mean things other than themselves–of course they do–but that to me they do so best when they believe in themselves.”

More of China Mieville at Omnivoracious blogging about 5 literary movements to watch out for.

From Jacket Copy, a round table of writers discuss their choices for the world’s most science-fiction or fantasy cities. Michael Moorcock’s description of Marrakesh, Morocco is particularly awesome. The folks at Jacket Copy were obviously surprised that nobody picked Los Angeles. And although nobody asked me, and I’m not half as well-traveled as the panelists, I would pick Phnom Penh, Cambodia. How about you?

From The Book Bench, we heard the exciting news that a manual of “Lacanian crime investigation” is coming out! What the hell does that mean? Simply, applying the bizarre psychoanalytic theories of Jacques Lacan to gruesome crime scene photos from the 1950’s. The point? That academic theory might still have “some real world relevance.”

And in other news, an industrious Bolano fan creates an Excel spreadsheet for The Savage Detectives, an eloquent reminder about why Joe Meno is one of the most exciting writers working today, and finally, if you missed out on Bloomsday activities, here is a NSFW selection of love letters from the immortal Joyce himself that can be enjoyed any day of the year (Via Jacket Copy)


Michael Berger is a barely-published writer and book-seller living in San Francisco. He is one of the founding Corsairs of the Iron Garters Bike Club and is currently pursuing a degree in applied pataphysics. He sometimes eats oatmeal for dinner. More from this author →