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Link Roundup: Now With Lengthy Introduction!


PUBLISHED: April 16, 2008

In my quest to reach Literary Blogging Greatness (i.e. over 300 page views per day), I have recently become frustrated by the effort involved. Specifically, I am forced to stay on top of the news. This means surfing the internet over my breakfast cereal, which requires a lot of focus and coordination. But it seems we literary bloggers all visit the same websites. So how do I keep my content fresh? How do I avoid duplicating the wit and wisdom of Maud Newton and Bookslut? How do I blog the latest literary news before they do? (I’m certainly not going to wake up before 9 AM.) How do I keep myself from stealing hot content from other sites and pawning it off as my own? On a daily basis I read everything from the big boys (the New York Times) to the grasshoppers, and I still don’t land exclusives. I’m always a few nanoseconds (or months) behind with the lit news.

That’s why I’ve decided to blog only about books and authors of the future. Now no one can scoop me. Just try to keep up, lit bloggers of the present, while I tell you about the noir thriller that Philip Roth’s brain will write telepathically from a cryogenic chamber in 2080. Seethe with jealousy when I quote the first chapter of Zerba von Zerba’s turn of the third millenium opus, Mars According to Gorp. Rage when I review the Summer 2008 movie version of my debut novel (I, coincidentally, am the star).

Or just read some regurgitated links:

1) Suddenly (six months ago?) Amazon.com has a literary blog, and this week (last week?) it features the first page of Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz’s next novel.

What I see. Usually just the f-ckedup hide of the truck.

2) Oh, and Junot Diaz won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

3) Man writes 200,000 books. Somewhere, a robot’s head explodes.

And [preternaturally prolific writer Philip Parker] is laying the groundwork for romance novels generated by new algorithms. “I’ve already set it up,” he said. “There are only so many body parts.”

Wait, this sounds like one of those New York Times “pretend” stories.

4) Michael Chabon wrote a screenplay for Spider-Man 2? And “Spider-Man” is hyphenated? Is it really possible that I’ve never typed “Spider-Man” before?

5) I’m dying to read The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century by journalist Steve Coll, and NOT just because the book describes how Osama’s brother used to show Osama pictures of his butt after hemorrhoid surgery.

6) I’m sorry to hear that Martin Amis’s new book of essays is allegedly preening, pretentious, and narcissistic.

7) Johannes Gutenberg invented a printing press.

8) I love the “Early Coverage of the Web” feature on Mental Floss, in which the editors cull hilariously outdated articles from the New York Times (how far up the New York Times’s a** am I today?). If only the Times had Future Bloggers like myself back in 1980:

What the two well-dressed strangers first noticed about each other was that they were both possessors of the newest status symbol around town: the Walkman, a portable stereo unit (priced in most stores at $200), consisting of an ultra-light headphone set plugged into a cassette player that weighs in at less than 14 ounces, batteries included. “It’s just like Mercedes-Benz owners honking when they pass each other on the road,” explained Mr. Lansing, whose cassette hung from his Gucci belt.

3 Comments

jason from mental_floss's picture
Thanks for linking to that ‘Walkman’ article. That’s by far the best one we’ve uncovered. A distant second might be Yoko Ono, from November 1961…. One thing you can surely say about today’s new music: the farther out it gets, the harder it is to describe. It wasn’t always so; thirty years ago inner anatomical detail and structural exactitude were the rage. But now – Here are some of the things that happened in almost total darkness at Carnegie Recital Hall late yesterday afternoon, all in the name of music: Against a taped background of mumbled words and wild laughter a girl spoke earnestly about peeling a grapefruit, squeezing lemons and counting the hairs on a dead child. Musicians in the corner made their instruments go squeep and squak. * * * * * The occasion was a concert of works by Yoko Ono, and the hall was packed. The works were titled, respectively, “A Grapefruit in the World of Park,” “Piece for Strawberries and Violin” and “AOS–To David Tudor.” Whether or not time will prove Miss Ono a master of musical expressiveness, there can be no denying her skill at concocting titles. Especially since neither strawberries nor violin were anywhere in evidence.
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Waldo Jaquith's picture
How many times do I have to hear about Mental Floss before I finally get around to subscribing?
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Wistar's picture
Years ago I worked at Barnes & Noble so I got to perv all the glossy magazines. I had read my last lunch break Us Weeklywhen I stumbled upon Mental Floss. The magazine was everything I liked to surf on the internet, but in print form. And now that I have too much time to surf the internet, I visit the website exclusively. Another one of my favorite magazines (after the VQR of course) is Discover. I read that thing cover to cover every month. Space! Cancer! Chemicals! Dead ovaries! It’s science, ya’ll.
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