Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Soup and Salad: Alyson Hagy, A "Mockingbird" kerfuffle, SlushPile Hell, World's Worst Sentence, Fall Books

On today's menu:

1.  At The Story Prize blog, Alyson Hagy talks about the inspiration and perspiration which went into her excellent short story collection Ghosts of Wyoming (which I read--and loved!--earlier this year):  What book or books made you want to become a writer?  Honest answer: A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor....O’Connor knew how to make literature out of the contradictions, passions, and hypocrisies of the rural South.  Better yet, she knew how to record the way rural folk talk.  My first reading of O’Connor came into me via my ears and my belly more than through my eyes.

2.  The Guardian sent a reporter to interview the reclusive Harper Lee (whose To Kill a Mockingbird is celebrating its 50th birthday this year).  The Guardian devoted 2,217 words to the "interview."  It turned out to be a drumroll-fanfare-trumpet blast for the tiniest poof of farts.  Herewith is the entire conversation reporter Sharon Churcher eked out of Ms. Lee:
Nervously, I approach the novelist, carrying the best box of chocolates I could find in the small Alabama town of Monroeville, a Hershey’s selection costing a few dollars. I start to apologise that I hadn’t brought more but a beaming Nelle – as her friends and family call her – extends her hand.
‘Thank you so much,’ she told me. ‘You are most kind. We’re just going to feed the ducks but call me the next time you are here. We have a lot of history here. You will enjoy it.’
It was the most fleeting of conversations.
The rest of the article is padding.  I suspect Harper has the last laugh in this instance.

3.  For those of you toiling in the trenches, SlushPile Hell will either be the funniest thing you read this week, or the saddest.  Me?  I think it's piss-the-pants funny.  I wish the self-described "grumpy literary agent" would post more of his acerbic remarks about query letters he receives from wanna-be clients.  A couple of snippets:
Wait, I’ll respond to you when my retinas stop burning.
God told me to write this book and that it would become a bestseller.
I talked to God. He said he was just messing with you.

4.  Molly Ringle (not to be confused with Molly Ringwald) has written the worst sentence of the year--as determined by the judges of the Bulwer-Lytton contest.  However, it might just be the sexiest sentence about a gerbil ever penned:
For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity's affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss--a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world's thirstiest gerbil.

5.  The Millions kindly informs us what to look forward to in the coming months.  Let the mouth salivation begin!  There are so many (potentially) good books listed here, I wouldn't even know where to begin.  I sort of feel like Ash the robot in Alien who starts thrashing around the spaceship spewing battery acid until going into shutdown mode.

1 comment:

  1. That list on The Millions kills me...SO many good books coming out, and none of them are on my already over-flowing, over-stacked shelves of unread books.