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Showing posts from September, 2010

biographies of Exley and Yates

A PS that can stand alone as its own post:

If you're in the market for literary biography, I'd recommend books about Fred Exley and Richard Yates although Yates's biographer was able to comb the world for a lot more material and produce a much more comprehensive book. In fact, Blake Bailey's A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates is rather excellent and satisfying. I loved learning from this book that the Elaine character from Seinfeld is based upon Richard Yates's daughter, and so the suede-leather clown-jacket episode, where Jerry and George drink with Elaine's father in a hotel lobby, is a sensational look at the author himself (although quite exaggerated and fattened up for television). Jonathan Yardley's Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley is still worth a read though; I can see why some reviewers on amazon were disappointed, but I'd say its average of three stars is about right.

Exley and Richard Yates

In honor of Brock Clarke's Exley and Tao Lin's Richard Yates, I'm changing the title of Fight for Your Long Day to Anais Nin.

Duffy can dream, no?

To me, the Exley is forgiveable because we aren't coming off a blockbuster movie version of A Fan's Notes. Also, Clarke has paid all kinds of dues--advanced grad work, multiple books, and more--and more than anything, based upon a review, at least the father-son relationship that dominates Clarke's outer frame can be directly related to a significant tension in Exley's novel. And Exley is the man (although, yes, from a technical perspective, Yates was the superior novelist), so Clarke should get props for recognizing that fact. The only customer to review it so far (arrives October 5, 2010) gives Exley three stars but insists we read the original first. But, yes, if you're reading this, then it is likely you've done that. Like amazon customer reviewer Mark Levine of Jersey City, New Jersey (aye, my father…

inside higher ed

Yesterday, as you've possibly already heard from me too many times, I got inside higher education after decades of peripheral engagement with schools and books. Editor Scott Jaschik gave Fight for Your Long Day a nice review and helped the novel shoot up to 8,000ish on as both a trade paperback and e-book. I'm afraid to know how few sales this actually translates into, but hey, I'll take what I can get.

And now it's time to take coffee... nap time, anyone?

Sleepy schleep.

eagleton on judt and nussbaum

Terry Eagleton has a fun book review in the October 2010 print Harper's Magazine. Nothing to do with Judaism; a lot to do with education and the humanities and the current vast economic inequalities of the U.S. and Great Britain. Eagleton ends one paragraph thusly:
"Then again, I am the brainwashed product of a communistic state: my own education at Cambridge University was entirely free of charge, though it would not be so today."

In fact, Eagleton is teaching at Notre Dame these days; there's no word on whether or not he has mingled with sports agents or accepted cash from literary alums.

He does do a quick and easy hatchet job on both writers, but Nussbaum gets it worse than Judt. But nothing on their ties to sports betting or University of Chicago's plan to eliminate doctoral work in the humanities in order to fund a new Division One football team while NYU brings exorbitant tuition to thirty-seven cities in the next five years. Maybe the numbers are off her…

just another psychotic clown?

In the famous words of a psychotic clown from Seinfeld, "Who am I supposed to be?" Always a good question, no? Well, here's one summary:

If you are moved to do so, please send me yourself in a page or less with photograph (optimal one would match the one included with my "me"--3 years younger but in cooler weather).

And if you have an unbearable urge to print my page and plaster it all around your town or environs--mailboxes, bulletin boards, dogs, pigeons, trees, and park benches--well, you have my blessings although I am in no position to be held legally responsible for such heroic acts of signage and vandalism.


a huge one, South Carolina style, tickling me behind the right knee...  i leap up and away and brush it off and thankfully the tea spill is minor and not on the kazin or judt.

firing on all topics

I've begun Tony Judt's Postwar: Europe Since 1945 as well as Alfred Kazin's Coming Up in the Thirties. Yeah, it feels great to be back in Depression and genocide.

In a phone interview for the novel late this morning, it went well, but I fear I may have come across some petty apologist for tenured professors when my big plan was to get everybody else decent health coverage and working conditions! (Yes, with the help of one good journalist, I was going to send everyone from the classroom to the doctor's waiting room free of charge!) But aye, the tenured profs (in many cases) are overworked and exhausted too. A few appear a bit too bright and energetic and chirpy for my taste, but I believe some proper guidance from yours truly in all the ways of anxiety, neuroses, doubt, angst, and general ennui could get them in shape.

But has anyone figured out how to apply Andrew Hacker's idea? I mean if everyone is reduced to a three-year contract, can we still protect free speec…

yiyi wants to "read jesus"

So in the annals of disorganized but functional parenting, I'm sure this would not come as the most shocking revelation, so to speak. But for the sake of full blogging disclosure, it should be noted that Yiyi has been on a Jesus kick for the last couple weeks. In the past three days alone, I think we've read the Jesus Blesses the Children picture book ten times. I suppose that's less of a fire hazzard than lighting Channukah candles, but I don't think I'll mind too much when she loses interest. For Yiyi, it's probably just another twist to her occasionally eccentric but mostly common South Carolina childhood. The key here will ultimately be for me to appear as boring as possible so that in her adults years, she'll never once think of writing a memoir about her father.

Well, in closing, I must say that Jesus in the picture book sounds like one of heck of a caring, sensitive guy. Inspiring!

amazon deal available; b&n problems resolved

So direct from Itasca Books is still the purest play in the Duffleman aftermarket, but has priced me down to size as expected:

Amazon has me at $10.08 now, and supposedly B&N is working again (but no one has reported to me that the purchase was reinstated). Amazon calls $10.08 33% off whereas B&N calls $10.08 32% off.

Either way, I wish I could lose weight so easily.

But if you want to send me a check for $17 (shipping included), I'll send you a signed copy.

Alex Kudera

218 Charleston Avenue

Clemson, SC 29631

Yours in every twist and turn of the Dufflechase,

Have a good weekend!

Indie Bound

My understanding is that "Indie Bound" has nothing to do with George Constanza tied to the bed and left for broke or Harrison Ford tied anywhere and left for dead. Slavery or indentured servitude in the West Indies? I hope not.

I'm told all it means is that any independent bookseller in the world can easily order Fight for Your Long Day and show off the snazzy cover in the store window.

franzen's freedom

the fat fucker set me back twenty-one smackeroos earlier today. a meek, humbled,
stooped-low-to-the-grading-grind author (me) wanders in to the campus barnes and noble to arrange his own sinister book profit and leaves with a hardcover at thirty percent off. and forgets to use the gift cards too. well, i hope johnny franz feels more free as a result of literature's market forces. and my lack of impulse control.

Itasca Books in St. Paul, Minnesota

I'm a bit worried about Duffy's toes growing pink and numb at such a Northern storage facility and distribution center, but they sound like a nice operation. I believe they are somehow involved in shipping Greywolf and UMinnesota Press product as well.

Well, Duffy has exposure at amazon, barnes and noble, ingram (according to an email I was forwarded); he does indeed feel like a legitimate paper product packaged as a novel and intent on blowing your entire worldview to the Southern hemisphere and back because the laughs are so long and the writing so fucking good. At least in a few paragraphs.

Here is the most direct route to Duffleman as of September 1, 2010:

Feel free to spread the URL if it's tax-free in your state. And, of course, until next time, Fight for Your Long Day!