Goodbye, Columbus at 50 and Other Links

by Patrick on May 4, 2009

Goodbye, Columbus, one of my favorite books, was published 50 years ago this week.  Aside from being a great story and a very fast read, it holds a special place in my heart, as a copy of the book was the first gift I gave my wife (who was then just a friend).  I enjoyed this post at Paper Cuts, which excerpts Roth’s essay from the 30th Anniversary edition.  Click here to watch me read the first paragraph of the book, including that awesome opening sentence.

Other literary news of note:

  • Drew Goodman, a great bookseller and a lover of new media, has started a blog about books, blogging and the relationship between the two. It’s already got some excellent posts up, including a thoughtful post about possibly symbiotic relationships between stores and book bloggers.
  • Ed Champion has a post up featuring a brief essay by Colson Whitehead in reaction to some categorizing his new book, Sag Harbor, as a borderline YA book (that’s Young Adult, to you noobs).  To be clear, it isn’t YA that Whitehead takes issue with, it’s the whole enterprise of categorizing and mis-categorizing of literature.  “What I’m saying is that we write, and then the world categorizes us, and the next day we get up and start writing again.”  I once heard Lawrence Weschler, the great writer of eclectic non-fiction, bemoan the fact that his books were always scattered all over the bookstore — some in non-fiction, some in essays, some in art criticism, some in travel literature.  The same, he said, was true of writers like Ian Frazier.  Why can’t we just have all the books by each author together in a section called “The Good Books.”  Incidentally, Sag Harbor will be the selection of the Twitter book club, meeting on 5/14.
  • Ben Greenman interviews Rhett Miller (and vice versa) at Largehearted Boy.  Buy Ben’s new book Please Step Back.  It is about rock and/or roll, and we have signed copies available.
  • And finally, read Taylor Antrim’s excellent piece in the LA Times about the dreaded “second novel.”  It concerns itself, at least in part, with Martin Amis’ Dead Babies, a book I certainly didn’t hate (Though it’s not The Information, that’s for sure).