Subject: WAIT! THERE'S MORE — and it's in the third person
Sender: Maxine [firstname.lastname@example.org]
¶ NEW! (6.13.11)
—Ed is a talking head on the Blu-Ray edition of the Coen Brothers' True Grit. (He talks about Charles Portis, one of his favorite authors.)
—At the website of Post45, an academic association devoted to American culture after 1945, Boston College's Min-Hyoung Song has a quite brilliant take on "Race and Racelessness in Personal Days"—a fascinating piece.
—Ed reviews Lawrence Block's excellent new novel, A Drop of the Hard Stuff, for Time, and writes about cartoonist Chester Brown's notes to Paying for It (and other works) for the Toronto Standard. (Then he adds notes on his note on the notes, for The Comics Journal.)
¶ 4.11.11 Arthur Phillips, author of The Tragedy of Arthur, writes about PD at the Barnes & Noble Review:
"In one of those odd burps of culture, 2007-8 produced two novels about office politics and sociology written in the first person plural, Personal Days and And Then We Came to the End. Park's book is the less well-known, but very undeservedly. It is extremely funny, dead-on in its descriptions of slacker work ethics and corporate compromise. And, then, out of nowhere, it's somehow very moving, showing how youth's fragile idealism can shatter under the weight of bad decisions and economics."
¶ 3.30.11 An appreciation of Jonathan Coe at Bookforum, and a farewell to Astral Weeks, Ed's science-fiction column for the Los Angeles Times.
¶ 11.26.10 Ed's essay on Very Long Sentences is in The New York Times Book Review. Discussed: Books by Bohumil Hrabal, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Laird Hunt, James Joyce, Mathias Énard, and others.
¶ 11.22.10 Two new E.P. pieces—
—"Typo Analysis," on the 16th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, for Bookforum.
—"Minor Poets, Major Works," on Garrett Caples's pamphlet "Quintessence of the Minor: Symbolist Poetry in English" and John Ashbery and James Schuyler's novel, A Nest of Ninnies, for the Poetry Foundation.
¶ 11.9.10 This is exciting: On December 2, PD will be one of five books being interpreted—dramatically!—by SWEET Actors Reading Writers. The actress Joya Mia Italiano will read from PD; other authors include Sonya Chung, Jonathan Dixon, and Amanda Filipacchi—our greatest living "pure" comic novelist!
¶ Fall 2010 update:
—PRI's The World podcast features PD: "replete with inventive wordplay"! (Listen.)
—Ed's essay "Dungeon Masters Guide" appears in Bound to Last: 30 Writers On Their Most Cherished Books (Da Capo), edited by Sean Manning and with an introduction by Ray Bradbury. Other contributors include Karen Joy Fowler, Julia Glass, David Hajdu, Francine Prose, Chris Abani...The book comes out 10/26.
—Ed's short story "Untitled" (published in Gigantic) is a "notable" in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010.
—Ed reads at KGB with Bryan Charles, 10/27, plus special reading TBA, 12/2
¶ 7.4.10 Follow Ed on Twitter @tharealedpark.
¶ 4.23.10 Ed's story "An Oral History of Atlantis" (published in 2002) resurfaces at Underwater New York. (Here is a brief introduction.)
¶ 3.11.10 "Take This Job and Write It": Jennifer Schuessler discusses PD and other American novels about work in the New York Times Book Review.
¶ 2.17.10 Posters for two February readings (2/20 & 2/24):
¶ 2.4.10 From Lee Ellis at The New Yorker: From the stinging embarrassment of the company softball team's record-setting losses to the odd, enchanting power of a Post-It, Park repeatedly finds ways to turn the minutiae of office life into exciting, inviting prose."
¶ 12.23.09 In The Atlantic, James Parker names Personal Days as one of the "Top Pop Cultural Moments of the Decade."
¶ 12.7.09 Ed talks to the Columbia Spectator.
¶ 11.10.09 Personal Days was named a finalist for the Asian American Literary Award. The other finalist was Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies; the winner was Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth.
• Ed's short appreciation of Renata Adler's novel Speedboat appears in the nifty City Secrets Books: The Essential Insider's Guide.
• Ed's "Welcome to Tyosen™!"—short fiction—is in the new PEN America journal.
• Richard Russo recommends PD on NPR's Morning Edition.
¶ 10.12.09 Ed reviews The Collected Stories of J.G. Ballard...in the form of an abecedary. (Los Angeles Times)
¶ SUMMER/SEPTEMBER ROUNDUP
• "Cow Vase," up at Significant Objects
Some Ed nonfiction:
• "Titles Within a Tale," on the Invisible Library, in The New York Times Book Review
• "Inside the Pre-Internet Office," in The L Magazine;
• "The Freud Notebook," in Post Road #17
• The drawings of David Berman, at Poetryfoundation.org
• "This Is the Writing You Have Been Waiting for," an introduction to this:
¶ 7.12.09 Read Hard, the new anthology of Believer articles (edited by Heidi Julavits and Ed), is available at the McSweeney's store, Amazon, and hopefully your local bookseller.
¶ 6.12.09 INK Illustration, a UK art collective, has mounted a show called "The Invisible Library," based on the blog of the same name that Ed runs with Levi Stahl. It runs at Tenderpixel Gallery (10 Cecil Court, London) through July 12.
¶ 5.29.09 Ed expands on his list of favorite comic novels for Bookforum. And the Los Angeles Times reviews Burn This Book.
¶ 5.14.09 At Moving Image Source, Ed looks at Edward Gorey's unproduced 1973 "silent screenplay," The Black Doll.
¶ 5.10.09 Burn This Book, which includes an essay by Ed on Robert Cormier's I Am the Cheese, is an "Editor's Choice" at The Buffalo News. (Buy the book here.)
¶ 4.23.09 Ed talks to the L Magazine—and instantly regrets it.
¶ 4.17.09 Keep an eye out for Gigantic, a new literary broadsheet, which features work by Joe Wenderoth, Deb Olin Unferth, Gary Shteyngart, Malcolm Gladwell, Tao Lin, and many others. Three bucks! A short story by Ed is also included in the price of admission.
¶ 4.15.09 The UK paperback of Personal Days is now available, with spiffy new cover art:
(Amazon UK page here.)
¶ 4.1.09 Scraps from Ed's appearance at Vassar College: An interview with The Miscellany Times, and Amitava Kumar's liveblogging of a class.
¶ 3.24.09 The forthcoming collection of pieces by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Exilee and Temps Morts: Selected Works, features an essay by Ed, "This Is the Writing You Have Been Waiting For." University of California Press will publish the book in September 2009. (More info here.)
¶ 3.11.09 At the Hartford Advocate, Brianna Snyder considers PD and the literature of getting canned.
¶ 3.4.09 Personal Days is a finalist for the PEN Hemingway Award.
¶ 2.9.09 An original essay by Ed, "The Sudden Sharp Memory," will appear in Burn This Book, edited by Toni Morrison. (It will be published in May by Harper Studio, in conjunction with the PEN American Center.) The collection features work by Paul Auster, Nadine Gordimer, Orhan Pamuk, John Updike, David Grossman, Salman Rushdie, and other "literary heavyweights."
¶ 2.2.09 Ed talks to Asians in America (not all the Asians in America...but rather a website by that name).
¶ 1.9.09 Ed blogs for the New York Times' Room for Debate.
¶ 12/31 Rounding out the year, The New Yorker's Book Bench blog calls PD
an eerily prescient tale of layoffs; think “Alien” set in an office, where computers are stealthily self-destructing and people keep disappearing from their cubicles, leaving vast empty warrens of corporate debris. Did I mention that it’s deeply, bitterly funny—2008’s Best Novel About Doing Battle with Microsoft Word and Losing.
—while Hyphen lists it as one of the "other dope fiction books by Asians in 2008."
¶ 12/15 In the Louisville Courier-Journal's big year-end list, novelist Samantha Hunt gets Personal:
In Personal Days, Ed Park's dark, dark humor captures the slow death-spiral of a company and the workers still living in its decay. As they are summoned by human resources, the still-employed huddle around their monitors like some post-apocalyptic campfires, writing screenplays, Googling themselves and generally acting far more clever than anyone in charge. Sadly, the book is timely.
¶ 12/10 PD is one of Edward Champion's "Top Ten Books of 2008"...and surfaces on the Village Voice's (?!) "Best Books of 2008" list. And Commonweal lassos PD into its Christmas roundup. And Nikil Saval muses on PD and other recent office novels for The Millions' A Year in Reading.
¶ 12/8 Some huge year-end list news: PD clocks in at #6 on Time magazine's Top 10 Fiction Books of 2008!
It's a quirk of modern fiction that a lot of the people who read it work in offices, but very few of the people in it do. As Joshua Ferris's Then We Came to the End did last year, Personal Days takes a step toward correcting the imbalance. Set within the confines of a nameless, failing white-collar business, it chronicles the company's increasingly intense, intricate office culture, which gets more and more ingrown and self-referential and radioactive with each layoff. "It's possible we can't stand each other," says the novel's first-person-plural narrator, "but at this point we're helpless in the company of outsiders." This is a book that gets frighteningly truer month after month. Somehow it also remains just as funny.
(Read the whole list, including books by Jhumpa Lahiri, Curtis Sittenfeld, and Roberto Bolaño, here.)
¶ 11/30 Year-end lists...The Independent (UK) names PD one of its 50 Best Winter Reads (“Smartly of-the-moment, this is office life at its best and worst...”)...The Written Nerd names it a favorite book of 2008...
¶ Ed was on WBAI's Asia Pacific Forum (NYC, 99.5) on Tues., Oct. 21st, from 8 to 9 p.m.; the show is archived here.
¶ LISTEN UP! IT'S THE PERSONAL DAYS AUDIO CENTER...
•Ed talks to Andy Hsiao on WBAI's Asia Pacific Forum.
•"Coworkers" theme song by Brian McMullen
•Ed talks to Voice of America's Korea service. (Here's the audio.)
•Ed on WFMU's Theory of Everything
•Ed on Edward Champion's The Bat Segundo Show.
•BBC 6's George Lamb Show features Personal Days (discussed by book critic Ernest Hemingway, at around the 56-minute mark)
•Ed talks about Personal Days, and the history of the office novel, on BBC 4's Open Book.
•Ed reads from Personal Days at Tompkins Square Park, August 1, 2007, for BOMB magazine's 100th issue.
¶ 10/19 Author and Columbia statistics professor Andrew Gelman blogs about Personal Days. He guesses that Ed is a Democrat, receives confirmation of his suspicions, draws connections to Gödel, Escher, Bach and a great Jonathan Coe novel, and winds up liking the book!
¶ 10/5 At BoingBoing, Douglas Rushkoff praises PD (as a "fast read...with surprisingly enduring flavor"):
Personal Days, by Ed Park, is a post-Dilbert, post-Microserfs look at office culture. It's like the show The Office, except populated by people who, for the most part, understand what is happening to them. What I like best about the book is Ed Park's use of cliché phrases. You know how that first song on Elvis Costello's Imperial Bedroom album ("Beyond Belief") strings together known phrases into something entirely bigger? Or the way Delmore Schwartz would italicize a phrase as if to show it was a saying instead of just words? Know what I'm saying? Park does this throughout his text, creating a gentle, phantom hypertext that required no further explanation. And this black comedy about downsizing brings an almost Beckett-like sense of reduction to the dwindling office.
Also: Library Journal calls PD one of "last season's top first novels," and it gets noticed on What Writers Read (Andrew Gelman) and the UCLA Asia Institute's Asia Pacific Arts. (More on the Elvis Costello song here.)
¶ 9/28 Various reviews of PD's Italian incarnation, Maledetti Colleghi, have appeared. Il Sole invokes Woody Allen and Kafka, while the Marie Claire piece gives you a who's who. (We're guessing here—more accurate translations welcome!)
¶ 9/7 Ed's "Reflections on That Tuesday," an essay about remembering and forgetting 9/11, appears in the New York Times City section.
¶ 9/2 Personal Days has been shortlisted for the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize.
¶ 8/28 The LA Weekly compares Personal Days to Orwell—but not the book you're thinking of...
¶ 8/17 The Buffalo News reviews PD, and EP is featured in August's KoreAm magazine. UPDATE (9/20): Link to KoreAm feature, "Cubiculture," by Soo Youn. Comes with "Personal Maze," a handy guide to the denizens of the PD office.
¶ 8/7 The Personal Days theme song, "Coworkers," by Brian McMullen. (Brian has also sent an energetic logo to Pru.)
¶ 8/6 The Philadelphia City Paper notes the "contagious joy" of PD...Megan McCafferty (Sloppy Firsts, et al.) recommends PD...plus some other interesting blog reactions.
¶ 8/3 Ed talks to the Guardian about today's hyperliterate bands.
¶ 7/31 EP's KGB reading featured in New York:
Ed Park, while a founding editor of The Believer, is really making his name with his debut novel, Personal Days, which was inspired by how shitty it was to work at The Village Voice in the time leading up to—and after—the paper was bought out by the weekly-paper conglomerate known as New Times. If that book were not such a fantastic leap away from his specific experience (we were there), into realms more universal, and more hilarious, you might think the new short story he’ll read tonight would just take a spade to the same territory. But Park digs deeper—wider, even!—and we can’t wait to hear what he does in the short form, and how his impish language sounds out loud. —Nick Catucci
¶ 7/30 The L Magazine's summer fiction issue includes an excerpt from The Dizzies, an EP novel-in-progress.
¶ 7/28 Canada's National Post picks Personal Days as a summer read.
¶ 7/22–7/30 At Time Out New York, Ed dispenses strangely shaped pearls of wisdom regarding that elusive creature, Success. Sample: “I like living in New York—a stimulating city, good for writing. I like being busy and being in the thick of things, even though I never go anywhere and only communicate via e-mail.”
¶ 7/23 Voice of America's Korea service talks to Ed. (Listen.)
¶ 7/5 Korea's Chosun Ilbo profiles Ed. Here's a solid translation.
¶ 7/4 Personal Days is a New York Times Book Review "Editors' Choice."
¶ 7/2 At Largehearted Boy, Ed spins New Order's "Run":
"Run" was my theme song, and I didn't even know what it meant. It has the virtue of being intimate yet ambiguous, and the music is a thrilling mix of guitars and machines. Even the title is up for grabs: a directive to flee, or simply to hit the treadmill?
¶ At Time Out New York, poet Matthea Harvey throws Personal Days into the beach bag of her mind.
¶ 6/30 Ed talks to Benjamen Walker live at the studios of the legendary WFMU. The righteous playlist features work songs, actors reading from PD, and pictures of listeners' cubicles.
¶ 6/29 The New York Times reviews Personal Days, profiles Ed, and provides the novel's first chapter.
¶ 6/27 From Time magazine (July 7, 2008), "Three First Novels that Just Might Last":
Personal Days by Ed Park
Some office drones work at a moribund company. That's really all Park needs.
WHY IT'S GOOD
Never have the minutiae of office life been so lovingly cataloged and collated.
FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE ...
The Mezzanine, Then We Came to the End (a book it superficially resembles, but only superficially)
¶ LOOK OUT! INTRODUCING THE PERSONAL DAYS VIDEO CENTER: Ed reads at Google (6/18).
¶ 6/27 Interview aggregator: Ed raps with The Star Ledger, LAist, Who Walk in Brooklyn, Metromix, Mediabistro (subscription required), and The Publishing Spot.
¶ 6/12: Ed talks to Rachel Aviv in the virtual pages of Triple Canopy.
¶ 6/11: Joongang Ilbo (Korea Daily) profiles Ed. (Here's a crude translation.)
¶ 6/6: This week in The Week, Ed chooses six of his favorite obscure books—four of which are out of print. Also: The "dean" of rock critics, Robert Christgau, reviews PD for The New York Observer; The Stranger's Slog takes the book out to lunch (and likes it); Time Out Chicago contrasts it with Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener; and The Boston Phoenix looks at the development of the office novel.
¶ 6/2 PD is a bestseller at Book Court in Brooklyn.
¶ Some great new reviews in The Boston Globe, Newsweek, the Daily Mail, Bookforum, the Los Angeles Times, People StyleWatch, Daily Candy, L Magazine, The San Diego Union-Times, The Onion, and elsewhere! (See the main reviews page for links.)
¶ 5/20: Department of TMI: Ed talks about bruxism (teeth-grinding) to the New York Observer.
¶ 5/19: New York magazine's Agenda features Personal Days.
¶ Composer Nico Muhly turns to PD for some light reading.
¶ Ed blogged at Powell's Books from 5/12 to 5/16, on topics ranging from John Darnielle and H.P. Lovecraft to Dungeons & Dragons and the unexpected joys of wandering the stacks.
¶ “The Oblivion Arms” (from Ed's long-lost novel Dementia Americana) was serialized at Five Chapters.
¶ 4/20: The Los Angeles Times profiles Ed. Here's a small bit:
With his rumpled-preppy dress and pointy glasses, Park...could be one of the geek-chic protagonists in Adrian Tomine's "Optic Nerve" comic. Inspired more by the hip taste and fanboy ethos of the alternative press than the intellectually striving postwar "little magazine," he worships Philip K. Dick instead of Philip Rahv....
¶ 4/18: The San Francisco Chronicle profiles bestselling author Sloane Crosley (I Was Told There'd Be Cake):
Crosley...first published an essay, "Goodbye, Columbus," in the Village Voice in 2004. It was about the day she moved and managed to get locked out of two apartments. She wrote up her experience in an e-mail to friends, and Ed Park, an editor at the Village Voice who happens to be one of those friends, told her to shape it up and he'd publish it. "I keep telling this story about the e-mail I sent that became the Village Voice essay. It's been inspiring the ire of many Internet personalities, as if after I decided to write an e-mail, now I'm going to call myself a writer."
¶ And as always, check out the Personal Days blog! New content nearly round the clock!