They come not to praise Martin Amis but to bury him, says The Independent. “…[Amis has] been mugged, sledged and bloodied in a number of newspaper articles and made the victim of a viperish whispering campaign, suggesting, sotto voce, that the book is rubbish and that Amis is, frankly, washed up. Hardly anybody has actually read [Yellow Dog] (it’s been sent to literary editors and selected reviewers under tight embargo conditions), but, somehow, everyone just knows that it’s the summer’s literary equivalent of Gigli.”

* “Fox may well argue that Franken’s parody tarnishes its business and its mark, but the whole purpose of political parody is to poke fun at people one disagrees with. If Franken may not use the expression “fair and balanced” in a book that accuses Fox News of failing to be “fair and balanced,” there is something seriously wrong with trademark law under our 1st Amendment.” The LA Times on the Fox versus Franken imbroglio. The Babu’s wondering whether Fox would sue him if he wrote a book about the network called Unfair and Unbalanced (No, Make That Unhinged!)? They don’t have that phrase under copyright, surely…

Remember nicotine aversion therapy, which suggested that a smoker might be persuaded to give up by smoking non-stop, up to 60 cancer sticks a day, until the stink and the coughing got to him for good? I think I finally figured out what the Booker’s all about–you pick good, decent reading addicts, and then you force them to read hundreds of thousands of words of turgid prose until they come out promising never to read again, not even the phone book. “Somewhere in the distance, dimly glimpsed through an inky forest of print, through murder, mayhem and spinsterish chat, rises the hope, at some point in one’s career, of being able to read a book for pleasure again,” DJ Taylor writes in the Guardian. He ends on the obligatory note of hope; somewhat strained, perhaps.

Erma Bombeck, Shirley Jackson, Jean Kerr: housewife writers, “willing to admit that the enterprise was often an emotional bust”, writes Caitlin Flanagan in The Atlantic. Today you have chick lit. On the whole, I preferred the bad old days of patriarchal oppression–it produced better books.

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