Monday, March 16, 2009

Book News (and reviews), In Brief

In an effort to win back wealthy WASP readers, The Washington Post reminisces about How American Ghettos Were Made. Okay, so it's actually a review of Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America by Beryl Satter, but I needed to do something to get your attention -- it's Monday morning!

Also in The Washington Post: On Campus, Vampires Are Besting the Beats. An excerpt: On today's college campuses, you're more likely to hear a werewolf howl than Allen Ginsberg, and Nin's transgressive sexuality has been replaced by the fervent chastity of Bella Swan. It's as though somebody stole Abbie Hoffman's book -- and a whole generation of radical lit along with it.

The Sydney Morning Herald is the kinkiest corporate newspaper publishing today. Don't believe me? Check out their four page profile of author Charlotte Roche. An excerpt: Feuchtgebiete, which translates as Wetlands or Moist Patches, is the debut novel from Charlotte Roche. As it opens, we find 18-year-old narrator Helen Memel in hospital after an accident shaving her intimate parts. The remainder of the book plays out entirely on the proctology ward where, in between ruminating on her hemorrhoids and sexual proclivities, Helen asks her male nurse to photograph her wound, tries to seduce him and hides under her bed to masturbate. She has an insatiable, childlike curiosity about the sight, smell and taste of bodies, especially hers. She is also exuberantly promiscuous. Hygiene, she reflects, "is not a major concern of mine". When she uses public toilets, she likes to rub her vagina around the lavatory seat and has experimented with long periods of not washing her vagina to investigate its erotic impact - dabbing her pubic perfume behind her earlobes. "It works wonders from the moment you greet someone with a kiss on each cheek." You don't come across prose like that in the Christian Science Monitor, now do ya?

A Non-Book News (or reviews) Link!
The periodic table of typefaces.