Literary Muppets, Amazon’s Issues, Year End Lists, and More Lit Links

Literary Muppets, Amazon's Issues, Year End Lists, and More Lit Links- Emma Straub has a great post at The Paris Review about Miss Piggy, Literary Icon. Miss Piggy “wrote” a guide to life book filled with wisdom such as:

There is no such thing as a “correct” weight for any particular height—they are only averages. And moi, who has a perfect figure, can tell you that the idea of going on a diet is not to become so thin that when you are at a party and turn sideways, people think you left early.

- The Paris Review also has a great interview with Gary Lutz, one of America’s premiere sentence artists.

When I’m at work on a story, I never compose paragraphically. I write stand-alone sentences. I might fixate on three or four sentences a day. I’ll enlarge them to at least twenty-six-point type on the screen. I’ll futz around in their vitals, recontour their casings, and work a kind of reverse cosmetology on them to bring out any defining defects or birthmarks or swoonworthy uglinesses and whatnot. Only much later will one such sentence overcome its aloofness or diffidence and begin to make overtures to another sentence, which might be pages and pages away in the draft. The sentences eventually band together into paragraphs.

- The Millions’s great Year in Reading series continues.

- As does the htmlgiant Tournament of Bookshit.

- Electric Literature is throwing a holiday fiction contest with an interesting constraint: “A short short of 30 to 300 words, that uses each word only once. (Do not repeat any words! Not even pronouns or indefinite/definite articles.)”

- The Guardian wonders whatever happened to book illustrations:

I say surprising because very few works of fiction have any sort of graphic element at all. This has always seemed strange to me, especially considering the great effort publishers put into designing covers, choosing fonts, and so on. Illustrated fiction enjoyed a surge in popularity during the 19th century, but nowadays? I can count on two hands the books I’ve read that incorporate some design into their pages.

It is an interesting question, although the rise of literary comic books and graphic novels in recent history might have taken over most of that space, and there are probably more illustrations in recent texts than the article implies. Still, I would not be surprised to see more art get incorporated into novels as publishers look for ways to enhance the appeal of print books.

- Largehearted Boy compiles a massive list of year end book lists.

- Everyone is already talking about this article, but if you haven’t read it here is Richard Russo taking Amazon to task.

Statements like this will no doubt make us all seem, to Amazon devotees, like a bunch of privileged, holier-than-thou ingrates. Privileged I’ll grant them. But as we swapped e-mails it quickly became clear that the real source of our collective dismay was actually gratitude, not ingratitude. On my first book tour I was invited to Barbara’s Bookstore in Chicago. The employees optimistically set up seven folding chairs, then occupied those chairs themselves when nobody showed up for the reading.

- Lastly, Laura Miller on the trend of TV shows adapted from novels.

Lincoln Michel keeps a personal blog at and tweets @TheLincoln. His work appears or is forthcoming in Tin House, Oxford American, The Believer, NOON, Bookforum, and elsewhere. He is more


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