On The Books: 'Literary Death Match' is a real thing and it's exactly what it sounds like - sort of

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A new competition is trying to drum up pop cultural fervor for contemporary authors and it has the splashy title of Literary Death Match. You really shouldn’t need anymore info than that to buy tickets. But I’ll give you details anyway. Their poster says: “4 authors, 3 judges, 2 finalists, 1 epic finale (and a bunch of really attractive lit-nerds).” I mean, done and done. Their website elaborates further, Literary Death Match “marries the literary and performative aspects of Def Poetry Jam, rapier-witted quips of American Idol’s judging (without any meanness), and the ridiculousness and hilarity of Double Dare.” So throw in Legends of the Hidden Temple obstacles and I promise to watch this and nothing else for the rest of the year. [NPR]

The New York Times translated an interview with Philip Roth and the cultural editor of the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. As I’ve said before, hearing authors expound on their body of work is a gift that I usually wish I could return, in the case of Philip Roth…well we all know Roth by now and he does not disappoint in this interview–fireworks of literary philosophy, narcissism, and a renunciation of the word misogynist. “In some quarters, “misogynist” is now a word used almost as laxly as was “Communist” by the McCarthyite right in the 1950s — and for very like the same purpose.” [New York Times]

Speaking of misogyny, there’s been an uproar in the Sci-Fi community over whose hosting the 2014 Hugo Awards in London. The World Science Fiction Society announced on Saturday that British comedian and television host Jonathan Ross would do the honors. But the backlash to that decision was so severe that within seven hours of the news, Ross withdrew from the position. The comedian (whose partner in crime is often Russell Brand) has gotten flack for his off-color jokes that target women, and a number of attendees felt like they would rather skip the world’s biggest science fiction awards ceremony than risk being the butt of his jokes. [The Guardian]

Fun infographic of the day: grammar diagrams of famous novels’ first sentences. What a neat way to compare how famous author’s structure their sentences. Raymond Chandler: “It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. Versus Kurt Vonnegut: “All this happened, more or less.” (Shout out to Ms. J for teaching me the value of these seemingly pointless puzzles in 7th grade.) [Open Culture]

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