Round-up, 14 September 2012: V****a, gay elves, digital distractions, and the occupational hazards of being an agent

How NOT to treat an agent who rejects your work (aka take care how you use social media, always keep the nutters’ addresses, and get a dog that bites).

Another biography of Jack Kerouac, this time from Joyce Johnson, whose feature in Publishers Weekly includes some valuable observations on life writing, e.g., ‘I feel that writing a biography should be the process of discovering a life rather than trying to prove a thesis’.

Poor Naomi Wolf. Not only has Vagina been described as the ‘Eat Pray Love of private parts’, but it’s been censored in the iTunes store. It’s just a word, folks – and I thought it was one of the acceptable ones. And she’s also under fire from some (some) feminists. But she’s fighting back in the Guardian. (Know how she feels. I remember the week we did feminism in Critical Theory at Naropa, and I got into trouble for asking about working women left to look after the babies. I was essentialist, apparently. I definitely wasn’t going to do a whole semester of Feminist Theory after that; the discussions seemed to get very anecdotal very quickly. The risks of scholarship that involve identity politics.)

Last weekend I was bemoaning the cliché of the gay elf in fantasy fiction. (Okay okay, I am sure their authors’ GBFFs love them. And it’s not that prevalent. But it has cropped up enough in my reading for me to wince a bit.) Anyway, a fresh perspective in fantasy from the Los Angeles Review of Books: Arab-American and Egyptian fantasy novels that make us rethink the ‘casual orientalism’ of the genre. (Still think the Dothraki are pretty fabby, though.)

An announcement in the Bookseller that the editors at Voyager are considering unagented manuscripts for two weeks in October. (Best get brushing up those novels about gay Arab elves: not come across any of them yet.)

Get! Offline!! Now!!! And Get Writing! From the Telegraph: how the digital world can be one great big distraction. (Note to self: you own Freedom.)

Why it often makes sense to ignore the advice of the professsionals: how Breaking Bad made it to the screen.

How some of the mandarins running Wikipedia can get a little carried away with themselves, plus some back story from Philip Roth on the writing of one of his novels.

Cute animal picture of the day is a wise animal picture. Sooey!