Bites: Edith Wharton, James Wood, Twitter, Holden Caulfield, Frank Lloyd Wright

  • James “King James” Wood is surprisingly charming in this LA Weekly interview. On being well-read:

I never seem very well-read to myself — I only notice the gaps, the thin bits, the bald patches (yes, the analogy with my hair is apt …) Only nowadays would I be praised for my breadth: At the time when Woolf was writing, for instance, in the 1920s and 1930s, it was assumed that a novelist would have, as part of her equipment, a thorough knowledge of the history of her form, in several languages. In this respect, Woolf wasn’t unusual. But to answer your question more directly: I jolly well should have read quite a bit, because that is all I do. I’m employed to be well-read! To borrow from Beckett, I sit on my arse all day, farting and thinking about Dante. Children fill the rest of the time.

  • Some “real” journalists are not as awed. Clarence Page (Chicago Tribune) on the Tweeting Revolution: “To me, Twitter is the great enabler for those who are intent on doing what’s ruining literature and political discourse today: Writing without thinking.” What he means is: “threatening my job.”
  • Stop the presses! Holden Caulfield is no longer relatable to today’s youth?? The New York Times simultaneously undermines Salinger’s classic coming-of-age and condemns today’s teenagers to dark, dark days of text-messaging and a “hyperactive pop culture metabolism,” gallingly citing Harry Potter as an example. (Wtf? Leave the kid wizard alone.)