A Literary Look Back at 2013

From The New York Times:

BookEach week in Bookends, two writers take on questions about the world of books. This week, all 10 columnists look back at 2013 and answer: What was the most interesting literary development — welcome or lamentable — of the year?

The first ever Lahore Literary Festival — not because it was the largest such festival in the world, or the most star-studded, and not because festivals are in and of themselves always good things, but rather because, at the sight of its 800-seat main auditorium filled repeatedly beyond capacity, every stair and aisle occupied in the giddiest breach of fire safety, and with so many hundreds more keen but unable to squeeze into this or that talk, most of them half my age or younger, I began to think that, laments to the contrary notwithstanding, the ranks of readers are in fact growing, in Pakistan and I suspect across Asia and Africa, and that this is a wonderful development, worth our taking a minute to cheer.
Mohsin Hamid

Earlier this year, in a 6,400-word newspaper essay taken from his book “The Kraus Project,” Jonathan Franzen set out some of his objections to — and anxieties about — Internet culture. The article was many things: angry, mournful, brilliant, occasionally dotty. The widespread mockery it received was only depressingly crude. For the sin of casting doubt on the Truth and Beauty of Twitter, Franzen was swiftly branded a Luddite, an elitist, a pretentious old fart and a misogynist. The yakkers, braggers and bullies did themselves proud.
Zoë Heller

More here.