"The NBAs are like the Oscars, except the acceptance speeches are longer and no one is attractive," an agent observed as a burbling, mostly elderly crowd gathered for cocktails outside a ballroom at the Marriot Marquis last night. Au contraire! Author-hottie Josh Ferris was looking Hollywood handsome, decked out in a tux adorned with his Finalist medal. He and Jim Shephard, who was also in contention for the fiction prize, stood shoving each other playfully and talking about how thrilled each would be if the other won. "The brutal fact is, I'm not going to win, " Josh said. He was correct: The prize went, as expected, to Denis Johnson for his Vietnam novel 'Tree Of Smoke.' But Josh quite possibly won the prize for "Having and Being the Most Fun at the Pre-Party."
Kirkus editors Chuck Shelton and Elaine Szewczyk (who apparently decided she didn't want her name used in this context after the Daily Intel item went up) both copped a feel of the National Book Award Loser for Nonfiction's junk last night. Chris was showing off the results a his recent Vanity Fair article, for which he'd waxed his "back, sack, and crack." The verdicts? "You cannot believe how smooth it is" and "As smooth as summer cherries."
Nobel peace prize winner Al Gore (right!) has started to eerily resemble drunken National Book Award finalist Christopher Hitchens! What happened to Gore's face? "Too many porkchops with David Remnick," suggests a reader. We already know what happened to Hitchens' face: Booze and bile and sexism are murder on the jowls.
Ooh, the National Book Awards finalist list is out. Congratulations to Farrar, Straus & Giroux, who scored with three of the five nominees for fiction (the heavenly Lydia Davis, Mischa Berlinski, and the great Denis Johnson). Who says FSG is washed up and out of touch? We are shocked to report that Christopher Hitchens is in the running for nonfiction for his stunt book "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything." [National Book Foundation]
Ancient literary curmudgeon Norman Mailer is biting less-ancient literary curmudgeon Christopher Hitchens' styles and writing a book about God. Called On God. In it, "he finds fault with the Ten
Commandments—because adultery, he avers, may be a lesser evil than others suffered in a bad marriage." Okay, Norm, you can still get it up, we get it. [Publishers Lunch sub only]
Warmongering God-hater Christopher Hitchens takes a look at Philip Roth's Exit Ghost, the final chapter in the life of Roth's fictional altar-ego Nathan Zuckerman. He is unimpressed. Considering Roth's fondness for stories about blowjobs gone wrong, Hitch recalls a scene from The Dying Animal, in which a character, displeased with his partner's fellationary skills... we'll continue this after the jump, eh, for the benefit of the children?
Christopher Hitchens and his even crazier brother Peter are at odds. Which side to support? "Picking between a man who sticks to mineral water (Peter, oddly enough) and another whose initial drinks order was 'I'll have a triple Scotch on the rocks and a bottle of red wine chaser' is never going to be easy." [Independent]
Contrarian notes: "I don't mind admitting that I, too, have watched Hilton undergoing the sexual act. I phrase it as crudely as that because it was one of the least erotic such sequences I have ever seen. She seemed to know what was expected of her and to manifest some hard-won expertise, but I could almost have believed that she was drugged. At no point did her facial expression match even the simulacrum of lovemaking." Anyone else queasy? [Slate]
More excitement in the battle between Bloomberg and Vanity Fair to see who can host the more fabulous after party for this weekend's White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. Sure, Vanity Fair is offering Christopher Hitchens and all the alcohol he doesn't drink himself, but the Bloomberg bash will feature both pigs in a blanket and, possibly, our mayor-king himself! While the Bloomberg party is famously a snooze—and really, who wants to stand on the pavement smoking while the host gives you dirty looks from inside, a la Tina Brown's—consider this: "Bloomberg is proud to boast that its dozen toilets should better accommodate guests than the two bathrooms Hitchens' house reportedly has for its 100-plus guests." Plus, you know that Hitch is gonna be puking in one of them. Maybe the best choice is no choice at all.
Exciting times for women longing to have a comical British alcoholic puke down their cleavage while spilling Scotch on their shoes. Christopher Hitchens and his wife, Carol Blue, are bringing back what has historically been one of the most "exclusive" parties following the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner: The Vanity Fair After-Party, the Washington Examiner reports. Hitch, whose favorite moment in life involved seeing Barbra Streisand on fire at a previous event, thinks the current go-to after-party, hosted by Bloomberg, "has become rather mediocre and tacky." (In fact, the Bloomberg party sucks.) And yet. A once much-loved institution that has declined precipitously in the last few years? You'd think he'd feel a little more sympathetic.