It's not like Norman Mailer doesn't know that some of his books are way too long and overblown. It's just that he doesn't know that all of them are way too long and overblown! That's just one of the revelations we gleaned from yesterday's roundup of books that famous authors would trim the fat from if they could. We also learned that Ann Patchett thinks that George Orwell's best-known works are, respectively, "awful" and "beyond awful," that Stephen King has a cheesy, punny-science-teacher type sense of humor (duh), and that ubiquitous literary wunderdad Neal Pollack found The Satanic Verses too long by 40%. But the clear understatement o' the year award winner is Joyce Carol Oates, whose voluminous oeuvre includes approx. 400 jillion crappy books and like half of a good one (Foxfire!): "I'm sure I could think of many other titles that would benefit from being cut, including some of my own."

Writers Take Out Their Knives [NYT]