- Mr. John Hodgman reveals one of the many ways fine literature can help with rationalizing addictions: “it was a little after 11 a.m. in Burbank, but if the hour was not exactly couth, Doc reassured me, it was at least historically accurate. ‘Literature has shown,’ he said, ‘that cocktails were first used in the morning.'”
- Hunter S. Thompson’s recent book reading garners “a place in literary promotional history alongside F. Scott Fitzgerald’s notorious public masturbation during a reading from Tender is the Night at Samuel French.” Here’s another heartwarming Thompson recollection.
- V.S. Pritchett’s son, Oliver, learned of the author’s affair with an American woman the same way most Pritchett fans did: by reading a new biography of the late author.
- Stewart O’Nan, one of this year’s National Book Award fiction judges, disses Philip Roth’s latest work and says of the current Tom Wolfe novel, “It’s nice that he thinks he’s the new Dickens, but he’s just not. Wow! What are you gonna do?” My crystal ball tells me O’Nan wasn’t the only Plot Against America hater on the panel. (Via Old Hag; see also the Cupcake blog, where the argument is advanced that the outcry over this year’s National Book Award fiction nominees is attributable to the fact that all five books were written by women.)
- An article on the difficulties of finding good Booker judges these days notes that the exclusion of A.L. Kennedy’s latest book from consideration for the prize is a “disgraceful omission.” Although I interviewed Kennedy over the summer, just as Paradise appeared in England, I haven’t read the new novel yet. U.S bookstores won’t have it until the spring; presumably the American publisher is dumbing it down for us.
- Every story like this one pushes me just a little bit closer to my mother’s fate: living on the side of a mountain, running four food dehydrators simultaneously to pack the basement pantry for the coming apocalypse, and receiving constant faxes from fringe-anti-government organizations. (I just hope I can stave off the yappy dogs, religious fanaticism, and blind, yet wacko, conservatism.) Thanks for the heads-up, Moby.
- SF writer William Gibson relates a Bush joke told by John Cleese:
How many Bush administration officials does it take to change a light bulb?
None. There’s nothing wrong with that light bulb. There is no need to change anything. We made the right decision and nothing has happened to change our minds. People who criticize this light bulb now, just because it doesn’t work anymore, supported us when we first screwed it in, and when these flip-floppers insist on saying that it is burned out, they are merely giving aid and encouragement to the Forces of Darkness.
(Thanks to Mr. Maud for the pointer.)
- Writer Jay McInerney’s 9-year-old son told this one:”Dad, there was a journalist interviewing George Bush, and he asked George Bush the significance of Roe vs. Wade. And George Bush said, ‘Roe vs. Wade was the most significant decision that George Washington had to make before he crossed the Delaware.'”(Second item.)