Month: June 2005

  • The Tennis Partner: Larry Collins (d 2005)

    Larry Collins, who co-wrote Is Paris Burning? (and a terrible follow-up many years later called, inevitably, Is New York Burning?) with Dominique Lapierre, died of a sudden cerebral haemorrhage at the age of 75. “Collins had lived in France for several decades. He and Lapierre played tennis together on a court they built beside their […]

  • Ever read Maus?

    According to this report, some members of the Jewish community are nervous about two new comic books on the Holocaust, intended to “introduce young Germans to the tragic fate of the Jews”. “German officers are shown screaming at prisoners as they pile up corpses retrieved from the gas chambers. “All this has to be converted […]

  • Creative Writhing Course

    At MobyLives, Elizabeth Clementson cuts MFAs down to size: “Many of the world’s greatest novels would have never made it through the workshop process. Picture James Joyce being told that Ulysses is “too ambitious.” Or Harper Lee being told that that Boo Radley character needs further development. Or Gertrude Stein being told, “Gertrude, The Making […]

  • Read any good books lately? Tell Big Brother.

    From The New York Times: “[US] Law enforcement officials have made at least 200 formal and informal inquiries to libraries for information on reading material and other internal matters since October 2001, according to a new study that adds grist to the growing debate in Congress over the government’s counterterrorism powers… In a slightly surreal […]

  • Ken Saro Wiwa and the oil wars

    From Ken Saro-Wiwa’s closing statement at his trial: “I and my colleagues are not the only ones on trial. Shell is here on trial and it is as well that it is represented by counsel said to be holding a watching brief. The Company has, indeed, ducked this particular trial, but its day will surely […]

  • Book review: Surface

    (Published in Outlook, June 2005) [I admire people who can compress everything they want to say about a book like Surface into 300-odd words and walk away satisfied that they’ve addressed all the issues neatly and tidily. Me? I get five paragraphs, each worth their weight in gold in these days of shrinking print, and […]

  • Speaking Volumes: Adaptations

    (First published in ‘Speaking Volumes’, Business Standard, June 14, 2005 Most book purists would agree with Charlie Kaufman on the subject of turning a book into a film: “I don’t want to cram in sex or guns or car chases or characters learning profound life lessons or growing or coming to like each other or […]

  • The BS column: The writer in his labyrinth

    (First published in ‘Speaking Volumes’, Business Standard, June 7, 2005) It is a naïve confession to make, but until I was in my late teens, it didn’t occur to me that the Nobel Prize in Literature was judged by mere mortals. Most of the relatives and friends whose homes I visited had libraries that shared […]

  • Sign my book! Now!

    How to ask an author to autograph your copy of his book: get shit-faced, tackle him, and as you press your knee into the small of his back, say, “That’s two s’es in ‘Chrissy’”. (Link found on Prufrock.)

  • Oh, just take the whole pigeon

    Elizabeth Day does a tongue-in-cheek interview with Paulo Coelho, the man who converted fortune cookie wisdom into a very profitable career. Read the whole thing here, especially this bit, which made me think that perhaps someone should tip Coelho off about the significance of white feathers: “Coelho himself pays great attention to omens – he […]