My Favorite Lit-Blog Things: September 10, 2009

The Booker shortlist was announced. There were reactions all across the blogosphere, of course. A sample: another cookie crumbles, Blog of a Bookslut, KfC (in the comments), and The Mookse and The Gripes.

The ever concise bookbigot makes me want to scoot Elie Wiesel’s Night up the TBR list.

ANZ LitLovers Litblog points to Matilda for coverage of another book award, the 2009 Queenslands Premier’s Literary Awards. Wanting by Richard Flanagan won the fiction award. Lisa Hill had earlier praised the book, but questioned the propriety of an author’s messing about in a historical figure’s inner life. It is an interesting question. My most recent read raising the issue was DeLillo’s Libra. While I thought DeLillo’s messing about was to great effect, I do share some of Lisa’s misgivings.

Maud Newton muses on ebooks. She, like me, first experienced the transition from paper to photons at law school during the 90’s. She is optimistic, as am I.

An academic ponders writing intelligibly. I tend to agree with Richard Feynman’s point that, if you cannot explain something to a reasonably intelligent layperson, you probably do not fully understand it yourself. His Six Easy Pieces and Six Not-So-Easy Pieces are two of the best introductory physics books out there.

Kimbofo at Reading Matters poses an interesting question about reading books twice before reviewing them. I don’t. Generally, I only read a book a second time after a considerable period of time. Thus any changed perception is as likely due to changes in me as due to the fact of a second time through. A notable exception to my general tendency not to immediately re-read books was Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. It was so phenomenal I turned from the last page back to the first after about thirty seconds of awed reflection. I loved it the second time too.

This week’s list: 15 Towering Literary Artists who are still alive. Leave weapons at the door. (Via The Elegant Variation.)

The Elegant Variation will have a Marilynne Robinson giveaway tomorrow.


2 Responses to My Favorite Lit-Blog Things: September 10, 2009

  1. Sarah says:

    Great round-up. Can’t get enough Booker stuff. Never knew enough to appreciate it previously.

    Gratified to see Cormac McCarthy on the Towering Literary Artists list, and I was happy to see Saramgo there too (two of his novels on my TBR pile.) Not to mention Pynchon, with whom I have a first date (so to speak) in the next week or so.

    I have a masochistic interest in layman physics (although not as masochistic as my abortive interest in rigourous physics proved to be…), so I may have to investigate Feynman.

  2. Kerry says:


    Thanks. I am more into the Booker this year than ever, but still haven’t gotten around to reading any of the shortlist. Brooklyn coming soon…

    I do highly recommend his Six Easy Pieces for anyone with even a passing interest in physics. If you really enjoy that, then Six Not-So-Easy Pieces is a natural follow-up.

    McCarthy is quite good. Pynchon and DeLillo, based on my reading one book each, are both quite good, but I am not falling over myself to read another from either. Most of the rest of the list represents opportunity for me (or glaring deficiencies in the breadth and depth of my reading…oh my).

    Thanks for dropping by.

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