Weeklings: Blyton, Palin, F-Bombs, and Bad Sex
Posted by: Keir Graff
So Enid Blyton, author of those fabulous Famous Five books I so adored as a callow youth, wasn’t much of a mum (“Why Enid Blyton’s greatest creation was herself,” by Garry Jenkins (Telegraph):
The drama reveals how Enid exploited even her own family to bolster the Blyton brand. Her two daughters from her marriage to Pollock, Gillian and Imogen, were routinely wheeled out for publicity purposes as Blyton portrayed herself as a devoted mother. But when the photographers left, the reality was different.
And Sarah Palin, who has also been said to use her children as props–is also being accused of neglect: not her children, but Lynn Vincent, her cowriter on Going Rogue (“‘Going Rogue: An American Life,’ by Sarah Palin,” by Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times):
It’s customary for politicians and celebrities to collaborate with a professional writer on books like this . . . However, the name of Palin’s collaborator — the evangelical Christian writer and pro-life activist Lynn Vincent — doesn’t appear on the cover of “Going Rogue.”
Palin herself told Oprah that “I have a journalism degree, always have loved writing, have journaled all my life”–and, therefore, had plenty of primary-source documents on hand. Hardly needed a cowriter, did she?
Using the theme of secrets and suppression as an opportunistic way to link to the next item . . . James Jones’ From Here to Eternity, which so shocked the world with its use of the word fuck (even the Daily Beast still can’t quite bring itself to use the “F-word”) could have been still more shocking–if Scribner’s hadn’t been afraid to publish Jones’ depictions of soldiers supplementing their pay by working as male escorts! (“Was a WWII Classic Too Gay?” by Kaylie Jones, The Daily Beast).
And, since we’re already talking about sex, I may as well mention that my favorite literary award, the Bad Sex Award, has released its shortlist:
Paul Theroux for A Dead Hand
Nick Cave for The Death of Bunny Munro
Philip Roth for The Humbling
Jonathan Littell for The Kindly Ones
Amos Oz for Rhyming Life and Death
John Banville for The Infinities
Anthony Quinn for The Rescue Man
Simon Van Booy for Love Begins in Winter
Sanjida O’Connell for The Naked Name of Love
Richard Milward for Ten Storey Love Song
According to the Guardian (“Bad sex award shortlist pits Philip Roth against stiff competition,” by Alison Flood):
The Pulitzer prize-winning Roth makes the line-up for The Humbling, in which the ageing actor Simon converts Pegeen, a lesbian, to heterosexuality. The Literary Review singled out a scene in which Simon and Pegeen pick up a girl from a bar and convince her to take part in a threesome.
Hmm. Well, I hope Roth isn’t feeling too . . . inadequate . . . about being on the shortlist.
And, finally, feeling bad about not being nominated for any award this year? The remedy is in your hands, friend: buy one (“Vanity book awards,” by Laura Miller, Salon).
And I’ve got a bus to catch. Have a good weekend, everybody.