Sunday, July 24, 2005

Kevin Smokler: our guide to contemporary literature

Attention Readers: it's soft fluffy perfumed teddy bear time. Time to "lighten up" a bit.

I just finished viewing an interview with book critic Kevin Smokler on CSPAN BookNotes program. I really liked what he was saying and I regret not taking notes. I wonder if a transcript is available online?

Now and then, I like to pop in a little non-blogocombat content here. Mostly, this tangential, peripheral material deals with books.

Okay then. Check out the blog of Kevin Smokler:

I posted a comment at it. About how I like Proust, Derrida, Blanchot, Kafka, Will Self, Dale Peck, etc. And I promised him I'd post something. So here it is.

I was going to post an excerpt from his essay on Oprah's Book Club, but the AlterNet site had a scary warning not to reproduce anything, so I freaked out like a sissy and skipped it. I'll link to it instead. Be sure to read it. It's "nice".

Here's a quick peek at his accomplishments, from his site (for clickable links to all the articles and reviews, go to his site):


Professional Biography

Kevin Smokler is one the nation's leading thinkers on the future of contemporary literature, publishing and the arts at large.

He's the editor of the anthology Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times (Basic Books, June 2005), featuring this generation's most intriguing young authors on the state and future of literature in the media-saturated 21st century.

His essays and critiques have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Baltimore Sun, The Believer, Ready Made and on National Public Radio.

As a speaker, Kevin has lectured nationwide on the future of reading and publishing, the literary life and the roll of technology in the arts at venues like Book Expo America, The Commonwealth Club of California, the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (where he sits on the advisory board) and Litquake, where he serves on the executive committee.

Kevin has also guest lectured on the future of book marketing at Mills College, Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University. In April of 2005, he delivered the keynote address at the New Face of Publishing Workshop at Humber College in Toronto, Canada.

As a private consultant his clients include Time Warner Book Group, Harper Collins, iUniverse, Mental Floss magazine and the Idea Festival. He's also the founder of the Virtual Book Tour.

Kevin Smokler has a B.A. in Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University and a Master’s Degree in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He lives in San Francisco and is represented by Jud Laghi of International Creative Management.


Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times (Basic Books, June 1, 2005).


# Contributing short articles to Issues 11 and 12 of Readymade (April 2004-Present).

# Analysis: 2004 Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame Inductees"
(Pop Transit, March 30, 2004)

# Tool: The Ace Heavy-Duty Glue Gun
(The Believer, October 2004)

# "In the Whale's Throat or How I Spent a Single Afternoon at Book Expo America and Lived to Tell About It."
(Inkblots Magazine, Summer 2003)

# "Counting Flags"
(, July 4, 2002)

# The Lessons of Oprah's Book Club
(AlterNet, April 8, 2002)

# "An Open Letter to Stephen Ambrose"
(AlterNet, January 22, 2002)

# "The Wandering Warrior", an Interview with Nicholson Baker on his book Double Fold
(AlterNet, May 15, 2001)

Book Criticism

* "Good Grief" by Lolly Winston
(SF Station, June 2004)

* "Havana World Series" by Jose Latour
(San Francicso Chronicle, February 29, 2004)

* "The Arborgast Case" by Thomas Hettche
(San Francicso Chronicle, December 21, 2003)

* "Tiger in a Trance" by Max Lundington
(San Francicso Chronicle, September 7, 2003)

* "The Wandering Hill" by Larry McMurtry
(San Francisco Chronicle, July 6, 2003)

* "Red Ant House" by Ann Cummins
(East Bay Express, April 30, 2003)

* "Officer Friendly and other stories" by Lewis Robinson
(San Francisco Chronicle, March 23, 2003)

* "The Last Good Chance" by Tom Barbash
(San Francisco Chronicle, February 2, 2003)

* "The Little Friend" by Donna Tartt
(SF Station, October 2002)

* "Letters to a Young Novelist" by Mario Vargas Llosa
(East Bay Express, June 26, 2002)

* "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold
(SF Station, June 2002)

* "Sin Killer" by Larry McMurtry
(San Francisco Chronicle, May 26, 2002)

* "Ernie's Ark" by Monica Wood
(San Francisco Chronicle, May 19, 2002)

* "Small Wonders" by Barbara Kingsolver
(SF Station, April 2002)

* "Rapture" by Susan Minot
(San Francisco Chronicle, January 27, 2002)

* "The Ambidextrist" by Peter
(San Francisco Chronicle, January 20, 2002)

* "Lit Life" by Kurt Wenzel
(San Francisco Chronicle, July 29, 2001)

* "Up In The Air" by Walter Kirn
(San Francisco Chronicle, July 16, 2001)

Film Reviews

* Reviews at SF Station (2004-Present)

* Reviews at (2002-2003)

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