2013 is looking very fruitful, readers. While last year offered new work from Zadie Smith, Junot Díaz, Michael Chabon, and many more, this year we’ll get our hands on new George Saunders, Karen Russell, Jamaica Kincaid, Anne Carson, Colum McCann, Aleksandar Hemon and even Vladimir Nabokov and J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as, beyond the horizon of summer, new Paul Harding, Jonathan Lethem, and Thomas Pynchon. We’ll also see an impressive array of anticipated work in translation from the likes of Alejandro Zambra, Ma Jian, László Krasznahorkai, Javier Marías and Karl Ove Knausgaard, among others. But these just offer the merest hint of the literary plenty that 2013 is poised to deliver. A bounty that we have tried to tame in another of our big book previews.
Gary Shteyngart’s wildly popular book trailer for Super Sad True Love Story.
Does YouTube need a Literature category? Miracle Jones, writing for The Fiction Circus gives a compelling argument:
Literature is marginalized and belittled on YouTube. It is pushed to the side and made to feel clumsy, irrelevant, and attenuated.
The fortunes of literature on YouTube mirror the fortunes of literature in this country, and in our public schools.
I am not worried about “literature” disappearing. I am, however, worried about a society that seeks to remove poetry and fiction from the banquet of life.
In Super Sad True Love Story, Shteyngart imagines a future without books and without language for its own sake, one where stories and poetry are replaced by digital data transmissions. But he also has so much fun with words in the book itself! And then there’s the book trailer itself,a recent but merry phenomenon. Consider the trailers for Sloane Crosely’s How Did You Get this Number?, or Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice. And small press books can have great trailers too, just look at this one for Sean Stanley’s Etc. and Otherwise. Shouldn’t these have a category to call home for lit lovers on YouTube? Not to mention the poems, lectures, critical commentaries, interviews, book reviews, and other miscellany that make up the video archive of our literary present.