Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekend Links, 3/20/11

Joe Abercrombie's The Heroes is the third book in recent weeks (along with Mat Johnson's Pym and Tea Obrecht's The Tiger's Wife) to be hailed as a potential classic.

Speaking of The Tiger's Wife, Tea Obrecht's debut novel received a glowing review in the New York Times, and has become so successful that the publishing world is already viewing it as a sign of a generational change in the industry. Obrecht is 25, and had not published much prior to this novel, even the usually small-circulation-literary-magazine short stories on which young writers normally cut their teeth. Her agent, Seth Fishman, is 30 and her editor, Noah Eaker, was 26 when he bought the rights to it.

New York Magazine's Best of New York 2011, as usual, had some good recommendations - both places we've been meaning to try, and places we've never heard of before.

The AV Club's Noel Murray had a couple of great essays on television this week - Noel Murray's "A Very Special Episode" feature looks at an episode of Louis C.K.'s late, lamented, Lucky Louie, and his "For Your Consideration" feature discusses Hee Haw and Soul Train, and different ways in which shows pander to audiences.

In the Atlantic Monthly, Newton Minow, cultural critic and former head of the FCC, who is best known for delivering the "Television and the Public Interest," speech to the National Association of Broadcasters in 1961 (better known as "the vast wasteland" speech), in which he criticized the intelligence-insulting nature of network television and challenged networkds to do better, has written "A Vaster Wasteland," a look at the television landscape fifty years later. As the title suggests, his vision is bleak. But then, five decades ago, this said of television: "You will see a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And endlessly commercials -- many screaming, cajoling, and offending. And most of all, boredom" and challenged American broadcasters to do better. How do you think they've done?

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