Today in literature: Tomas Tranströmer's win exposes a flaw in the Nobel selection process, Real Clear Politics is the latest site to reach a deal for 2012 campaign Ebooks, and Chuck Klosterman's book trailer is unexpectedly scary.
- English novelist Tim Parks doesn't have a problem with Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer's Nobel Prize win yesterday per se, but sees the win as the latest indication of a bigger problem with how the literature award is awarded. Simply put, he thinks there are too many Swedes in the kitchen. He may have a point: all 18 members of the Swedish Academy are from Sweden, yet they consider literature from all over the world. Even within the all-Swede jury, there's not much room for diversity. Parks explains:
"On the present jury there are just five women and no woman has ever held the presidency. Only one member was born after 1960. This is partly because you cannot resign from the Academy. It’s a life sentence. So there’s rarely any new blood. For the past few years, however, two members have refused to cooperate with deliberations for the prize because of previous disagreements, one over the reaction, or lack of it, to the fatwa against Salman Rushdie and the other over awarding the prize to Elfriede Jelinek, whom he felt was 'chaotic and pornographic.'"
They bring in literary experts from around the world to give them information to help make a decision, but the decision rests with them. And they have to make it year after year, reading close to 200 books in 12 months, very few of which are translated into Swedish. Under those circumstances, reading Tranströmer begins to feel like a welcome break from inscrutability. [The New York Review of Books]
- Crown and Real Clear Politics are partnering to release "three short-form e-book originals, plus one full-length book" in the months leading up to and after the 2012 election. They'll be written by Real Clear Politics executive editor Thomas Bevan and Washington editor Carl Cannon. The first of the short installments, The Battle Begins, will be available for download starting November 4. Before then, someone from Crown might want to revise the production description section of the book's Amazon page, which lists the title as The Conservative Comeback. Politico reached a similar deal with Random House Publishing Group back in June. Both are divisions of Random House, Inc. [Arts Beat and Paid Content]
- John Kercher, the father of Amanda Knox's murdered flatmate Meredith Ketcher, has hired British literary agent Ben Mason to help get him a book deal. A book proposal from Kercher is expected to be sent out to publishers on Monday. [The Bookseller]
- The book trailer for Chuck Klosterman's upcoming novel The Visible Man is not for the faint of heart. Paranoia, voyeurism, and crushing loneliness are get amble screentime. The 1986 Boston Celtics and Billy Joel are nowhere to be seen. [The Millions]