• The new issue of Poets & Writers is out. In print but not online are profiles of Ha Jin and Rita Dove (who’s just published a new poetry collection despite losing a manuscript and many of her belongings after lightning, literally, struck). Among the online offerings:

    • What writers need to know about the “USA Patriot Act”: you are fucked.



    • Because we at (by which, as you know by now, I actually mean me) kind of actually think Rob Williams is swell (it’s the accent): more on Penguin’s insidious yet potentially ingenious “Good Booking” campaign.


  • There’s a nice, short piece about home cooking by Jhumpa Lahiri in the latest (print) issue of The New Yorker.
  • The current Guardian digested read: Margaret Drabble’s The Red Queen, which has been sitting beside my bed for three weeks now. Drabble revealed in the U.K. Times (no free link available; BugMeNot isn’t working) that her own bedside table “is piled high with Henry James and his offshoots,” including the new Lodge and Toibin novels.
  • Lindsay Waters, editor at Harvard University Press, and humanist, asks, “What good are books?,” and then answers the question, in a provocative essay entitled “Bonfire of the Humanities.”
  • British publishers are churning out books dedicated to useless, random facts in the hopes that they will sell this holiday season.
  • A little politics:


    • There’s still no cross-over on political books. A survey of titles displayed in a Seattle bookstore revealed that “liberals read only liberal books and conservatives only conservative ones. Their authors were not just preaching to the converted, they were marketing their works specifically at the converted.” See also the political book network map, which I mentioned earlier this year.


    • Supplement to Lauren Cerand’s excellent political book events selections for the evening: Tonight Melville House Books is holding a panel discussion at Housing Works Cafe (all proceeds to Housing Works)
      devoted to three fascinating books just published about the 2000 election.


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