Also in the news: Omissions from the NYT’s Notable Books list. Also, Walmart pulls a shirt that jokes about killing journalists. It’s your Daily Blunt!
Year’s end is a season marked with numerous awards and lists, letting us know unmistakably who this cycle’s big winners and losers are. Sometimes the losers are the winners, as in the case of Literary Review’s annual Bad Sex in Fiction award, which puts authors’ prowess as engineers of erotic prose under the microscope. This year’s winner is Christopher Bollen, for a passage in this year’s The Destroyers which contains the following passage: “The skin along her arms and shoulders are different shades of tan like water stains in a bathtub. Her face and vagina are competing for my attention, so I glance down at the billiard rack of my penis and testicles.” Bollen has yet to publicly acknowledge his victory, and judges note that he was unable to attend the award ceremony.
Meanwhile, LitHub has taken umbrage with the New York Times‘ list of 100 Notable Books, citing what they believe to be some baffling omissions, such as Arundhati Roy, whose recent novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness was her first in twenty years. Also missing: Roxane Gay’s Hunger, and Eileen Myles’ Afterglow. They invite readers to comment with more baffling omissions from Lithub’s list of baffling omissions. At the very least, they succeed in raising questions about what constitutes a “notable” book.
If you prefer to read with a book in one hand and a wineglass in the other, you’ll get a kick out of The Guardian‘s roundup of the most entertaining drinking bouts in literary history, dating all the way back to the Epic of Gilgamesh. Honorable mention goes to Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene for carrying this torch all the way into the 20th century, with a drunkard in Waugh’s Decline and Fall correctly observing: “Oh, damn, what else is there to do?”
Thanks to accepting tee shirt designs from a third-party provider, Walmart ended up selling shirts on its website that advocated murdering journalists, the AV Club reports, via the New York Post. This particular “satirical” sentiment was first spotted on tees during the election last year, and has since drifted around the internet, gaining popularity among those woefully (or even willfully) misunderstand the significance of the First Amendment. To its credit, the store pulled the shirt from its site as soon as questions about it were raised. It’s worth noting that there’s only reason we’re hearing about it in the first place — somewhere, an unimpeded journalist was doing their job.