In an essay for Page Turner, critic Lee Siegel reflects on the state of contemporary critical culture, the increasingly “social” (and positive) tone in reviewing, and why he’s done writing negative book reviews. One reason for the changing climate is, of course, the internet: “Authority is a slippery thing, and its nature is going through yet another permutation in literary life. There are plenty of young, gifted critics writing fiercely and argumentatively in relatively obscure Web publications. But they are keenly aware that, along with the target of their scrutiny, the source of their own authority is also an object of examination.” Meanwhile, at the New Republic, Isaac Chotiner makes a case for why a “world without negative book reviews would be a terrible place to live.”
Fifty Shades of Gray author E.L. James is venturing into winemaking. Observing that “wine plays an important role in “Fifty Shades of Gray,” James announced this week that she’s coming out with two Fifty Shades-themed wines: Red Satin and White Silk.
At the Times Literary Supplement, Eleanor Margolies explores the link between Rimbaud and puppetry: “How did Charleville-Mézières, best known as Arthur Rimbaud’s ville natale but reviled by the poet as “the stupidest of small provincial towns”, become the international centre of puppetry?”
In an interview on 60 Minutes, Bill O’Reilly explained that he wrote his latest book, Killing Jesus: A History, because God told him to.
Jennifer Lawrence has signed on to play “psychotic monster” Cathy Ames in a new adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Genesis saga East of Eden. The novel, an epic family drama set in the Salinas, California during the Depression, was last adapted by Elia Kazan in 1955. Here’s a trailer for Kazan’s film:
Dissent on the rise of “cli-fi”: “Perhaps climate change had once seemed too large-scale, or too abstract, for the minutely human landscape of fiction. But the threat seems to have become too pressing to ignore, and less abstract, thanks to a nonstop succession of mega-storms and record-shattering temperatures. In addition to Paul Theroux, major novelists including Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, and Jennifer Egan have published books that touch on climate change.”