Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Book News, In Brief

Norman Mailer wins the 'Bad Sex' award for his fictitious portrayal of the incestuous conception of Adolf Hitler. Do we applaud this victory, or yell out, "Too soon!"? Runners-up for this much lauded prize included the book, Will, by Christopher Rush (wherein the author offers a firsthand account of the dirty deed as performed by William Shakespeare and his wife, Anne Hathaway) and The Stone Gods, by Jeannette Winterson (whose woman-on-robot sex scene is said to have lacked both spark and pulse).

Via AP: Over 100 authors (including John Updike, Anne Tyler and Walter Isaacson) participated in a 'year's best releases' poll initiated by the nation's book critics. Authors and critics were asked to choose five different works in three different categories: fiction, nonfiction and poetry. The winners were novelist Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Danticat's Brother, I'm Dying and, in a three-way tie for poetry, Robert Hass' Time and Materials, the late Zbigniew Herbert's Collected Poems and Robert Pinsky's Gulf Music. In a remarkable moment of complete obviousness mixed with confusing rhetoric, John Freeman, president of the National Book Critics Circle, told The Associated Press, "Best-seller lists really only show people what's selling, not what people are reading." Um, that makes zero sense, John.