Category Archives: Books

Yo, fatty! When you gonna finish them books?

His Majesty, Lord Puddin’ Pop

Fantasy gasbag George R.R. Martin complains about being famous and the high demand for his next book at the Guardian. His fans actually have the gall to want to take selfies with him! Oh, tsk, tsk, swords and dragons people!

…he recently snarled “fuck you!” at a questioner who queried whether, as a 65-year-old with a high body mass index, he was sure he could complete the last two books.

Don’t they know how very taxing it is to write 100,000 words about people in chain mail riding from one town to another all while having conversations in tortured English? That stuff doesn’t just write itself, kids.

I recommend that all of his fans gather outside his estate in New Mexico and protest him instead of immigration. (Sample Sign: Spit out that cookie, and finish the book!) If he emerges, don’t forget to whip out your iPhones and take a picture with him. Then hand him a bottle of Glucerna.

A literary triumph from ‘the next great American writer’

I subscribe to things. That’s what I do. When I was promised free books by Netgalley, I subscribed. I had no idea that I was about to be blessed with an email offer to read “a literary triumph from ‘the next great American writer.’” Oh… my… God.

Not only is Benjamin Whitmer “‘the next great American writer’” but, in the lede of the email, we’re told that he’s written his “literary triumph” “in the tradition of Cormac McCarthy and Larry Brown.”

At first, I thought it was some hack publicist at Simon & Schuster hanging this albatross around the dude’s neck:
“Hey, he writes about rednecks… let’s compare him to Larry Brown and Cormac McCarthy! Hell, let’s say he’s better than Faulkner!”
“Faulkner?”
“Ah, forget it. Let’s just stick with Brown and McCarthy.”

But visit his website, and behold! He’s wallowing in his hubris there. Why, he’s up for all sorts of Frenchie awards: Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, Prix des Balais d’or 2013, and Le Festival International du Film Policier de Beaune. Fancy!

My novel, Shake Loose the Dust From Thy Shoes and Trod Off On a Vast Country Road in Search of Whiskey and Meaning: An Allegory, is better. My protagonist, Toad, has syphilis AND a meth addiction. Toad keeps his girlfriend, Rose, locked up in the bedroom during the day. She doesn’t mind. Toad and Rose beltwhip each other for fun before heading off to the Pentecostal church to speak in tongues. Then she heads over to the truckstop to do some light whoring before Toad clubs her customers with an ax handle. The bodies of dead truckers are stacked like cordwood beneath the floorboards of their shotgun shack. The sheriff comes by on occasion to scratch his head at Toad’s collection of big rigs, parked higgledy-piggledy on his weed-choked lawn next to his collection of lawn jockeys and rat-infested living room furniture. The couple finally gets caught in the act, and Toad and Rose end up being electrocuted together (she sits in his lap, just like in that Bruce Springsteen song!).

My novel won the Prix de Pain au Beurre et du Vin from the Ligue Française des Intellectuels at their annual conference in the Gare du Nord rail station in Paris. I wear the medal around my neck while I write. It’s as big as a dinner plate. The reflection off it once brought down a small aircraft, setting its wing on fire.

I AM MELVILLE! Who are you, Whitmer? Larry Brown? Cormac McCarthy? I am HAWTHORNE, fucker! And TWAIN! With a smattering of Thomas Wolfe, Katherine Anne Porter, Robert Penn Warren and Tennessee Williams! But mainly MELVILLE! Fall on your knees before my GODLIKE PROSE! Tremble!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must enjoy my favorite beverage–a mixture of Jim Beam, Southern Comfort and Rose’s Lime Juice served in a one-quart Mason jar, best served cold with a half-dozen hand-rolled, shag-tobacco smokes while singing the Carter Family’s “Worried Man Blues.”

 

The History Of A Dog. Written By Himself, And Published By A Gentleman Of His Acquaintance. Translated From The French.

100 Actual Novel Titles from Real Eighteenth-Century Novels as Presented by the Good Fellows at The Toast, being a Blog Presented Through the Complex of Websites Known as The Internet as Translated by Google, a Company That Doth Claim to do No Evil.

And good day, sir! I said, “Good day”!

Hirsch love

Jedidiah Ayres, author of the excellent noir novel Peckerwood, throws some love at our very own Joseph Hirsch over at Hardboiled Wonderland. We dig you too, Jed!

Pick up a digital copy of the Paragraph Line Books original Kentucky Bestiary at Amazon.com, por favor, mis amigos. You’ll be glad you did!

Picnic, Lightning

Sue Lyons as Lolita

Over at Vice, actual pages from Vladimir Nabokov’s screenplay for Lolita are on display, including a wonderful scene that didn’t make it into the movie.

Humbert’s Voice

…she was killed by a bolt of lightning during a picnic on my fourth birthday, high in the Maritime Alps.

CUT TO:

A Mountain Meadow–A thunderhead advancing above sharp cliffs
Several people scramble for shelter, and the first big drops of rain strike the zinc of a lunchbox. As the poor lady in white runs toward the pavilion of a lookout, a blast of livid light fells her. Her graceful specter floats up above the black cliffs holding a parasol and blowing kisses to her husband and child who stand below, looking up, hand in hand.

Plus, you know, stuff about Kubrick. More.

‘They said they had come all the way from Amsterdam to f**k Charles Bukowski’

Spank Hank

Over at Vice, there’s an interview with John Martin from Black Sparrow about his long relationship, both professional and personal, with Charles Bukowski.

I mean, his public persona is very unlike the man.

Apparently, Hank was courteous, among other things. More at Vice.

Joyland

What if you’d written a novel and then, years later, Stephen King wrote a book with the same title, and you suddenly found yourself awash in King-like royalties? Emily Schultz, the author of Joyland, found herself in that situation when Stephen King released his own novel named Joyland as a print-only title.

King has now responded to the mix-up, telling Entertainment Weekly “I’m delighted for her, and I’m going to order her book”. King, writes Schultz on Twitter, is “wonderful”.

Stephen King isn’t just one of our best, most prolific, and most influential writers. He’s also a really cool dude. More at The Guardian.

The Goldfart

Urgh!

Have you read Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch? Was it highfalutin enough for you? For some publications, like the august New York Times, it hit the mark. But there are more discerning people than that out in literary land defending us all from literature-as-entertainment. (Ew! Entertainment!) Vanity Fair‘s Evgenia Peretz airs out the laundry. Can’t we all get along?

Indeed, we might ask the snobs, What’s the big deal? Can’t we all just agree that it’s great she spent all this time writing a big enjoyable book and move on? No, we cannot, say the stalwarts.

More at Vanity Fair.

When Alice met Kurt

Is that you, Kurt? It's me, Alice!

Let’s say you’ve got out your “Heroes of the 1970′s” action figurines and you’re playing with them atop your desk at work. How often would you team up Kurt Vonnegut and Alice Cooper… you know, to have them duke it out with Nixon and Ehrlichman?

Over at Dangerous Minds, we get to imagine Alice Cooper and Kurt Vonnegut meeting for reals, cuz it really did happen. Holy shit!