The Morning News announces their long-list for the Tournament of Books and once again there isn't one book that was published specifically as a genre novel. Though that doesn't mean they don't have any genre novels; Charles Yu's excellent How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is there, but it was still published by Pantheon and not Tor which indicates to me that the TOB people just aren't trying very hard. Where's The Wind-Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi? Where's China Mieville's Kraken? And yet somehow I find myself too weary about the whole thing at this point to even work up a proper blog post about it. So here it is in the Weekend Reading.

Haruki Murakami contemplates 21st century literature and how it differs from that of the 20th century.

Seattle's famed "superhero" gets his face punched in. You know this is the thing about trying to be a vigilante in real life. You're probably gonna get your face punched in.

A fascinating essay by Naomi Klein on how corporate branding has taken over America and how American companies have intentionally tried to remake themselves as marketing names that leave the actual creation of products to other—usually out-of-country—companies.

Meanwhile, here's the Atlantic on how the rich who have gotten richer while the rest of us have gotten poorer don't understand or care about how we all feel, and have no conception that times are bad for most people.

From my writing blog, an interesting excerpt from Tom Bissell's book about video games, Extra Lives, in which contemplates how he feels about art and gaming and how that relates to "high" and "low" art.

One of the members of OK Go! talk about the future of the music business and why they dropped their record label. This is really interesting stuff in terms of the future of media and commerce.

Laura Miller talks about why we love bad writing.

The web is a customer service medium. Really there's nothing I can say that encapsulates how brilliant an analysis this is of what the web is and what it isn't and why so many companies go so wrong. Go read it.

And as always, FICTION TIME

"Secret Life" by Jeff Vandermeer is as brilliant as anything he's written, and revisits a lot of the conceptual material of his previous dissection of corporate, white collar cubical life, "The Situation".

"The Silence of the Asonu" by Usula K. Le Guin. It's Le Guin. Formally, it's along the same lines as her most famous short story, "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas". You know you want to read it.

"I, Cthulhu" by Neil Gaiman is Gaiman's humorous take on the Lovecraft mythos, and is funny as He... I mean, R'lyeh.

"Understanding Human Behavior" by Thomas M. Disch... you know, all these stories this time around are by pretty legendary people and you should just read them, okay? Because they're awesome.

If you're wondering why my Wet Asphalt posting has been relatively sparse, most of my writing energy lately has been going into my fiction, which I feel is going really well. I may just opt for shorter posts for a while. Anyway, I think Quackenbush has some things in the pipe to entertain you...