Mix Tape: Only Human

Maggie Smith
May 3, 2012
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How to introduce an author—and how not to. Case in point: “Should a beloved, Pulitzer Prize-winning author have to hear the president of Northwestern’s Jewish students’ society call him Michael Sha-BONE eight times in two minutes? No. Because he flew across the country to speak for 50 minutes in your overheated auditorium and you have the internet.”

The NEA gives USC a $40,000 grant to develop a Henry David Thoreau video game. Get ready for a 3-D Walden Pond environment.

In the new issue of Boulevard, for a symposium on “Flaws in the Canon,” contributing writers were asked to “Name and discuss a literary work generally considered to be part of our ‘Canon’ that because of a serious literary flaw, or flaws, doesn’t deserve to be part of the canon, or, alternatively, name and discuss a work which in spite of a serious flaw has such compensating virtues that it still deserves canonic stature.” You can read John Gallaher’s piece on e.e. cummings here.

Various writers and editors weigh in on what keeps them going even when their literary careers aren’t what they’d hoped.

“The problem with book reviews is not that they reek of mediocrity, elitism, or nepotism; aren’t smart enough or are too pretentious; or are too negative or too positive. It’s that they come from a source—a human being—and we sometimes fail to take that into account.”

Jonathan Franzen reflects on the suicide of close friend David Foster Wallace.

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