Hi, everyone. How was your AWP? Mine was pretty good. I only fell down in the street once on account of the blizzard. Here are my highlights:
-Charles Simic gets a standing ovation and reads an encore of two poems. An encore at a poetry reading! That guy's a king.
-People lose their minds over the Barnstorm bookmarks. "I'm losing my actual mind."--people
-Don DeLillo reads from Americana and The Angel Esmeralda (my favorite story from the collection incidentally, Human Moments in World War III) and talks about what his life was like when he was writing his first novel. I love when authors talk about that early period of misery; it's good for consoling oneself. As in: "Don DeLillo lived in a one room apartment with the refrigerator in the bathroom. At least my fridge is in a kitchen of sorts!" Afterwards, I meet DeLillo at his book signing, and get over-earnest trying to tell him what his books mean to me. He mutters thanks and shrugs. They're already calling it The Shrug Heard Round The World.
-David Bersell fills his jacket with Coca-Cola, world rejoices.
-George Saunders reads from The Semplica-Girl Diaries at a celebration for the 50th birthday of the Syracuse MFA program. It wasn't that moving, though. I only cried five times.
And that was my AWP. Thanks to everyone who helped out at the Barnstorm table or stopped by to say hi. Take care of those bookmarks. They are priceless treasures worth one million dollars each. On to the links.
The long list for the Women's Fiction Prize (formerly the Orange Prize for Gals and Gals Only) has been announced. Long listers include Zadie Smith, Gillian Flynn, Sheila Heti, Barbara Kingsolver, Hilary Mantel, and others.
An Estonian gent returned a library book 69 years late. Super humorous mix-up actually: he thought he'd returned it back in 1971, but he'd really returned Tropic of Capricorn.
The Millions reviews Jamaica Kincaid's new book, See Now Then.
A great little roundup of overlooked travel writing. That essay by Christopher Isherwood about LA sounds great. Excerpt: Many of [Los Angeles's] housesâ€”especially the grander onesâ€”have a curiously disturbing atmosphere, a kind of psychological dankness which smells of anxiety, overdrafts, uneasy lust, whisky, divorce, and lies. â€˜Go away,â€™ a wretched little ghost whispers from the closet, â€˜go away before it is too late. I was vain. I was silly. They flattered me. I failed. You will fail, too. Donâ€™t listen to their promises. Ha, yup. That about covers it, LA-wise.