On The Books: Anne Rice stands up to haters on Amazon

Anne-Rice

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Anne Rice, defender of vampire erotica, Christian lit and gothic New Orleans, has come out against haters who trash authors on Amazon.com. I love Anne Rice. I love her steamy fantasy. I love that she jumps in and out of the Catholic Church like it’s a swimming pool. What a treasure. Her house tour in NOLA is on my bucket list. Rice is miffed by the “bullies, trolls, jerks or whatever you call them” that abuse authors in the comments section of Amazon. She has signed a petition to require identity verification from commenters. On her Facebook page, Rice says “Amazon is such a wonderful system and so many go there to offer heartfelt authentic customer reviews of the books they read; too bad that the anti-author bullies have misused and abused anonymity there for their endless preying on writers. They are a tiny minority, true, but to the authors they harass and torment and endlessly attack, they are no joking matter.” I don’t know that identity verification would be progress, but it’s a good idea to draw attention to the issue of cyber-bullying writers. [Guardian]

This month’s fiction podcast on The New Yorker’s website is a chilling tale by Mary Gaitskill called “The Other Place,” chosen and read by the author Jennifer Egan. Egan was struck by the story’s “intense menace mixed with other kinds of complicated humanity, specifically parenthood and redemption.” A father is watching his son develop the same magnetism to evil and fascination with hurting women that he has curdling inside him. The father is troubled by this and he reflects on his own experience trying to quell this darkness. Creepy, and very stirring. [The New Yorker]

Hanif Kureishi, the author of The Buddha of Suburbia and my new favorite truth-teller, spewed out a rant against creative writing students despite his actually being a creative writing professor at Kingston University in the UK. “A lot of them [students] don’t really understand,” said Kureishi. “It’s the story that really helps you. They worry about the writing and the prose and you think: ‘F— the prose, no one’s going to read your book for the writing, all they want to do is find out what happens in the story next.’ ” How do I audit this class? [Guardian]

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