And a good thing, too. Jumping from a state yesterday where I feared books might not be being written as well (as thoroughly) as they used to be, I'm glad there is still serious discourse about them in a major publication.
And Salman Rushdie weighs in on Censorship.
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Posted by Sasha Weiss
Walking the halls of The New Yorker, one hears conversations about books trailing out of office doors. Just the other day, two colleagues argued—cordially, but with some heat in their voices—about the merits of a certain series starring a girl with a bow and arrow. Another editor could be heard observing that Lena Dunham’s “Girls” has many novelistic antecedents—on average, about one every ten years—and wondering how the four-girl, post-collegiate formula has evolved. Yet another talked about how, after first reading “David Copperfield,” as a teen-ager, she opened it again when she was pregnant, and found that it was a different book. Sometimes, it seems, it can be hard to get a cup of coffee without proffering an opinion on a much talked-about début, or even an obscure one, hot off a Brooklyn letterpress.
Page-Turner is an elaboration of this ongoing conversation (look for some of the arguments and enthusiasms reported above in the coming weeks), building on the work of the Book Bench blog, and expanding on it. We’ll debate about books under-noticed or too much noticed, and celebrate writers we’ve returned to again and again. We’ll look to works in translation and at the politics of literary scenes beyond the English-speaking world. We’ll think about technology and the reading life. We’ll recommend and we’ll theorize. Daily essays will be the blog’s mainstay, with books as an anchor for wide-ranging cultural comment.
Posted by Salman Rushdie
No writer ever really wants to talk about censorship. Writers want to talk about creation, and censorship is anti-creation, negative energy, uncreation, the bringing into being of non-being, or, to use Tom Stoppard’s description of death, “the absence of presence.” Censorship is the thing that stops you doing what you want to do, and what writers want to talk about is what they do, not what stops them doing it. And writers want to talk about how much they get paid, and they want to gossip about other writers and how much they get paid, and they want to complain about critics and publishers, and gripe about politicians, and they want to talk about what they love, the writers they love, the stories and even sentences that have meant something to them, and, finally, they want to talk about their own ideas and their own stories. Their things. The British humorist Paul Jennings, in his brilliant essay on Resistentialism, a spoof of Existentialism, proposed that the world was divided into two categories, “Thing” and “No-Thing,” and suggested that between these two is waged a never-ending war. If writing is Thing, then censorship is No-Thing, and, as King Lear told Cordelia, “Nothing will came of nothing,” or, as Mr. Jennings would have revised Shakespeare, “No-Thing will come of No-Thing. Think again.”