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Literary Catching Up

Scott Esposito on Michael Martone:

Recently I read another book by Martone. It’s called The Blue Guide to Indiana, and this title is actually derived from a series of travel guidebooks called “The Blue Guide to . . .” Quite hysterically, when Martone published his Blue Guide, the publisher of the other Blue Guides sued–he eventual settlement was that Martone’s book would receive a sticker on its cover warning people that this Blue Guide was not a “real” Blue Guide. The warning label, complete with its reminder that “The Blue Guide to Indiana in no way factually depicts or accurately represents the State of Indiana, its destinations and attractions, its institutions or businesses, or any of its residents or former residents,” is reminiscent of postmodern works that have so skillfully captured legalese and that walk the line between seeming real and seeming like a great big put-on.

There’s a great interview with Michael Martone on Bat Segundo (conducted by Ed Champeon) with a preface by Dan Green. Recently I’ve discovered two more great literary podcasts. Bat Segundo and the Writing Show with Paula B. Also, here’s a great show on editing screenplays by Sam & Jim. Their insight (I paraphrase): screenplays are not about words; they’re about situations and emotions. Also, Writing show podcast with Andrew Findlay has good insights about selling screenplays. I haven’t listened to the whole thing, but early on, Findlay talks about the differences between European and American screenplays and also how aware European writers are of Hollywood conventions.

Michael Weiss on the success of the HBO show Entourage:

Every guy between the ages of 13 and 30 has got that one friend destined for greatness, either at the minor or major level. He doesn’t have to be the next box-office draw, voice of his generation, or golden god of rock—a local lothario will do. For those of us sneered at by cruel nature, this person represents our only chance for sampling the run-off glory of vicarious accomplishment. Wingmen, moochers, and hangers-on—we’re usually the guy’s best friends, and we’re remunerated for being just that. That this category had previously been neglected by popular culture is quite amazing. It’s also why Entourage‘s most readily cited analog is misleading. Where women used to watch Sex and the City and ask themselves, “Which one am I most like?”, men watch this show and ask themselves, “Who the hell is my Vince?”

I’ve been getting away from litblogging recently, but occasionally I indulge myself. Keeping up with litblogs (not to mention political blogs or techno-blogs) is a fulltime job. I’m happy to report that I’ve started reading RSS feeds on my pda, and I’ve been able to make progress on lots of blogs I seem to have no time for: Useless Tree, a totally original reflection on American life by an Asian scholar. (Unfortunately I can’t find links to the pieces I especially liked, but the quality of the posts is so high that I will enjoy rereading everything and rediscovering). Another is Henry Jenkins weblog about gaming/fandom.

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