01 January 2009

Bits of the Year That Was

This is mostly just a collection of links to remind you of some of the news of 2008 that did not involve elections. Or casino finance.

The world of letters and authorship lost a few leading lights. That's not all that surprising, as "leading lights" in the world of letters and authorship tend to be old, ill, crazy, or some combination thereof. In alphabetical order, Michael Crichton, Arthur C. Clarke, Thomas Disch, Randy Pausch, Harold Pinter, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, David Foster Wallace, and Donald Westlake. This is far from everyone of significance, but it's a relatively representative cross-section. From a particularly jaundiced point of view.

Speaking of particularly jaundiced, fake memoirs from Misha Defonseca, "Margaret Jones" (Peggy Seltzer), Herman Rosenblat, and (depending upon whom you believe) possibly Ishmael Beah were excoriated. Conversely, a perfectly worthwhile novel by Sherry Jones got cancelled... because the publisher is controlled by a lilylivered chickenshit with worse judgment than OJ Simpson. Meanwhile, plagiarism in category romance novels, and alleged plagiarism in parenting guides, were — as usual — overshadowed by events like copyright infringement in "guides" to "children's books".

And all the while, Nero picked up his electric guitar and riffed while Manhattan burned.