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(The Real) Top Ten Reasons to Buy the New Snooki Book

By JK Evanczuk on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - View Comments

A Shore Thing, literary equivalent of Comic Sans and the debut novel of popular circus show reality show star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, heralded in 2011 last week with its release, among other signs of the apocalypse.* If you haven’t read an excerpt, trust that it’s far from a work of literary genius. She appeared the other night on the David Letterman Show to present “top ten reasons to buy the new Snooki book.” I thought of some other reasons.

(The Real) Top 10 Reasons to Buy the New Snooki Book

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The Most Badass List of All Time

By Morgan von Ancken on Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - Comments Off
James Joyce - the best writer of all time? Ask the Modern Library!

Was James Joyce the best writer of all time? The Modern Library thinks so...

One byproduct of our culture’s ravenous appetite for media is a serious and insatiable addiction to lists. Have you guys noticed this? We just love organizing and ranking things, we’re all secretly obsessed with the whole nerdy taxonomy of classifying and comparing. Just check out the most  popular stories on Digg right now, I’m sure that a list recounting “The Top 20 Whatevers” is somewhere on there (at the time of this writing it was the  “24 Coolest Steampunk Weapons from Another Era,” but I’m sure that it will subtly change to reflect my point as time goes on). Yes, lists are great, especially for blog posts; after all, by their very nature they foment discussion (give people an excuse to argue about things that are arbitrary and impossible to prove).

But oh man there is one list out there with the weight of a venerated publishing house behind it, a serious list that puts all our other compulsive comparisons to shame. I first encountered it on the inside jacket of a copy of Ulysses that I was reading in college, and I’ve been in awe of its ambition and badassedness ever since. I’m talking about the Modern Library’s list of the 100 Best Novels.

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More: Books, Rants

Winter Reading for the Cast of Jersey Shore, If They Actually Read

By Toby Shuster on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - Comments Off

p>mtvNow that the first season of MTV’s Jersey Shore is over, the cast members will have some free time on their hands. The following is a list of book recommendations for the guidos and guidettes to digest in between their gelling, juicing, and tanning.

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Hey, Young Writers. Yes, You. John Irving Is Worried About You.

By JK Evanczuk on Monday, November 9, 2009 - Comments Off

The good news is that John Irving doesn’t believe that the book is dead. On the other hand, in a recent interview for “Big Think”, he says that if he were a 27-year-old novelist trying to get his first book published today, he’d be tempted to shoot himself.

I think my favorite response to this interview so far is from the Fiction Circus’ Miracle Jones, who says:

“As a 27-year-old writer trying to get his first novel published, I’d much rather kill John Irving.”

Instead of my typical point-by-point rebuttal, I thought this time I’d respond to Irving’s sentiments with a list of contemporary writers under 27  (or who have recently been 27) who have been doing just fine. Read more »

More: Writing

5 Reasons Why the Novel Is Not A Dying Medium

By JK Evanczuk on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - Comments Off

The book is not dead!Since starting Lit Drift, I’ve gotten used to reading a lot of doom-and-gloom opinion pieces about the death of the publishing industry. I’ve read predictions that the paperbound book will be totally replaced by digital books within the decade, or that we’ll all stop buying books and forget how to read, and so on. Most of it I’ve taken with a grain brick of salt, because I think at this point in our current techno-literary revolution it is far too early to tell where we’ll be in five–let alone ten–years.

Still, I can’t shake my anxiety after reading this recent article from The Guardian, in which Philip Roth–one of my favorite writers–says that the novel will be a “cult minority” in 25 years. He attributes the decline of the novel to the popularity of film, TV, and computers. It’s not the first time I’ve heard claims like this. But it’s unnerving to hear it from Roth.

He continues:

“The book can’t compete with the screen. It couldn’t compete [in the] beginning with the movie screen. It couldn’t compete with the television screen, and it can’t compete with the computer screen,” Roth said. “Now we have all those screens, so against all those screens a book couldn’t measure up.”

Maybe I’ve been living in a happy non-reality for the last two decades, but I don’t think that’s entirely true. So as much as I love Philip Roth, I have to respectfully disagree. Read more »

More: Books
Lit Drift Daily Prompt #41
20 minutes