To keep myself occupied I read this great piece by Laura Miller at guardian.co.uk on the question of introducing the internet into novels. It contains mini-spoilers of three books on my TBR pile (Freedom, Super Sad True Love Story, A Visit from the Goon Squad) but I forgive her.
The novel I'm researching at the moment is set at the beginning of the twentieth century, so I did feel for a moment like I was letting Laura Miller (and David Foster Wallace) down, but then I realised A Man Melting is very much a book of the internet age (albeit short stories and not a novel). Online acquaintances share their browser histories, cheerleader porn and all, in an effort to "really connect". A pair of friends part ways in Paris and the biggest decision is who gets custody of their travel blog. Disgruntled astronomers spend their time updating Wikipedia entries. A middle manager begins receiving emails from Charles Darwin. A young boy looks for answers on message boards when extinct animals start reappearing. And a writer sets himself the task of writing a million words in a year and bores everyone with weekly word count updates on his blog.
Okay, so the last one isn't fiction. But I totally feel entitled to ignore the internet in my fiction for a little while.
My column in the Dom Post last Saturday was about how I've put on twelve kgs since returning to New Zealand in May 2009 and how Don Delillo is partly to blame.
No one at work has mentioned the literary side of things, but plenty have taken the chance to appraise my weight. Most say it doesn't show. Some look at me as I wait for the lift and say, 'Shouldn't you be taking the stairs.'
Though it wasn't fiction, this reminds me of another good online read this week: Writing from the Garret: The Joys and Dangers of Readership by Edan Lepuki at The Millions.
NZ Book month is approaching (March). I'm kinda sorta lined up for one event so far (date to be nailed down) but if anyone out there wants to add a hitherto hot writer to their event...