OK, writers, it's time to step away from that Twitter feed.
A couple days after we reported that novelist Alice Hoffman had blasted – and then sort of apologized to – a critic of her most recent title, we've got two new reports of authors behaving badly. The first offender is Ayelet Waldman, the accomplished author of some great books, including "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits."
As followers of literary firefights will know, Waldman's most recent book is "Bad Mother," which is based on a series of essays Waldman wrote for Salon. In the book, Waldman espoused a few theories some folks found regrettable; she's been knocked around a good deal in the press ever since. The most recent high-profile assessment comes courtesy of the New Yorker's Jill Lepore, in a longer essay on parenting:
Waldman hires a maid to clean up after her maid [and] provides her sexual history. Waldman insists that how any woman rears her kids is nobody’s never-you-mind. “Let’s all commit ourselves to the basic civility of minding our own business,” she writes. This puts a reader in a tight spot: can I or can I not skip the chapter in “Bad Mother” wherein our author confides her regret over her breasts’ lost buoyancy?
It's not like Lepore's essay was a savage take-down. But in a tweet posted on June 28, Waldman offers this swift little riposte:
May Jill Lepore rot in hell. That is all.
The post, apparently, follows an earlier volley that was deleted but re-tweeted by a handful of bloggers; Waldman's words were considerably more caustic in the first message, and we'll leave it up to you find and read them yourself, if you so choose.
Meanwhile, over in another corner of the blogosphere, Alain de Botton took up his pen and lashed out at fellow author Caleb Crain. Some background: Crain reviewed de Botton's book in The New York Times; Crain didn't like it. Enter de Botton, who came out swinging in a comment on Crain's blog:
Caleb, you make it sound on your blog that your review is somehow a sane and fair assessment.... In my eyes, and all those who have read it with anything like impartiality, it is a review driven by an almost manic desire to bad-mouth and perversely depreciate anything of value.... I will hate you till the day I die and wish you nothing but ill will in every career move you make.
Have you ever dealt with your critics using a social network? Tell us here – or on Twitter.