Literary Resolutions

The new year always brings hope of new beginnings.  I found this LA Times article and thought, what a great idea.  My own literary resolution: to write every day and  to read at least one book for month for pure pleasure.  I also resolve to submit at least one story or article every six months for publication.

Here are a few more from The Los Angeles Times:

The new year as always brings with it the desire to make a change: eat better, save more, learn a new language, floss every day. We asked some smart bookish types if they have any particularly literaryresolutions for 2013 — they’ve got some great ideas for kicking off the new year.

Antoine Wilson, author of the novel “Panorama City“: My teachers used to encourage me to scribble in the margins while I read, and as a result I’m mortified at the sight of my own marginalia. For years now I’ve been folding down page corners as a means of noting remarkable passages, but when I go back to these, they’re baffling. So this year, I’m resolving to overcome self-consciousness and/or indolence and scribble in the margins much more while I read.

Marisa Silver, whose novel “Mary Coin,” inspired by Dorothea Lange’s famous Depression-era photograph of a migrant mother, is coming in March 2013: To get out of town. Not literally (although that would be nice, too) but literarily. I feel like my experience of contemporary literature is very English-language centric. I want to know what’s going on in the literatures of Cambodia, Ghana, Sweden…. The list is endless. The translations might be hard to find, but, as with any good travel experience, it’s always worth searching out the hidden places.

Mark Haskell Smith, author of the book “Heart of Dankness: Underground Botanists, Outlaw Farmers, and the Race for the Cannabis Cup“: In January I’m starting a new non-fiction project called “Naked at Lunch.” It’s the history of nudism, anarcho-naturism, and a look at the anti-textile lifestyle. Because of the kind of research I do, my literary resolution for 2013 is to be courageous and wear lots of sunscreen.

Daniel Mendelsohn, author of the essay collection “Waiting for the Barbarians“: I have a book due to my publisher in July, so that trumps everything in the resolution department. But otherwise I’d like finally to tackle the complete Samuel Pepys — having spent last year on his 20th century avatar, James Lees-Milne, I’m ready for the real thing.

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Top Literary Feuds of 2012

From the New Yorker:

As 2012 draws to a close, we thought we would take a moment to examine the scuffles, controversies, and feisty debates that have helped keep Page-Turner’s daily book-news roundups interesting over the past year. Some of these conflicts show what happens when carelessness leads to comedy; others grow out of a deeper sense of anxiety about the state of literary culture; in several instances, Page-Turner even entered the fray. In any case, they are proof that the literary world still loves a good fight, which we take as a sign of ruddy good health.

Günter Grass vs. Israel
In April, the Nobel Prize-winning German author Günter Grass became persona non grata in Israel after publishing a poem, entitled “What Must Be Said,” which denounced the country for threatening to use nuclear force against Iran (“Why do I say only now, aged and with my last drop of ink, that the nuclear power Israel endangers an already fragile world peace?”) Grass, who has admitted that he served in the Waffen-SS as a teen-ager, clarified that he meant to criticize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies, not Israel itself. But two days later, Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced that Grass was being barred from the country. “His distorted poems are not welcome in Israel,” said Yishai. “I suggest he try them in Iran where he will find a sympathetic audience.” The following week, Dave Eggers decided not to attend the ceremony awarding him the Günter Grass Foundation’s forty-thousand euro Albatross prize, saying that he was happy to receive the award but felt that the ceremony should have been postponed until the controversy had died down.

The Pulitzer Prize Board vs. The Fiction Jurors
David Foster Wallace’s “The Pale King,” Denis Johnson’s “Train Dreams,” and Karen Russell’s “Swamplandia!” were all in the running for this year’s Pulitzer Prize in fiction but, in April, the Pulitzer Prize Board announced that for the first time in thirty-five years it would not award a fiction prize. “The three books were fully considered, but in the end, none mustered the mandatory majority for granting a prize, so no prize was awarded,” said the prize administrator Sig Gissler. Fiction juror Susan Larson said in an interview on NPR that the jury was “shocked … angry … and very disappointed” at the board’s decision. At Page-Turner, another juror, Michael Cunningham, expressed similar disappointment and broke down the process by which he and the other jurors had arrived at their short list after reading over three hundred novels and short-story collections. “We were enormously pleased with the artfulness and fearlessness and unorthodox beauties of the books we’d decided to nominate,” he wrote.

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