• Edith Wharton is perhaps best known for her portraits of New York City’s upper classes, but she loathed the city. The rows of brownstone buildings, she said, “rendered New York ‘hide-bound in its deadly uniformity of mean ugliness.'” Wharton abandoned Manhattan forever in 1910, leaving little mark on it.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald’s St. Paul birthplace has been named a national literary landmark. (Via TEV.)
  • British writer Scarlett Thomas defines obscure terms like “Essex girl,” “dog earrings,” and “text message” for her Russian translator in a series of email messages published in the Guardian.
  • A well-regarded Chinese writer is tired of trying to peddle 200,000-word novels. His latest work, a 4200-word “marriage between haiku and Hemingway,” is being sent out to cell phone subscribers, 70 characters at a time, in two daily installments. (Via Places for Writers.)
  • The Bargain,” a previously unpublished story by Truman Capote, was filed at the New York Public Library and forgotten until it was unearthed earlier this year. Follow the link to the full text.
  • Here’s an excerpt from Williamson’s new biography of Jorge Luis Borges.
  • A mild suggestion of Booker prize irregularities appeared in the weekend’s U.K. Sunday Times magazine:

    “Who I knew didn’t affect my judgment, not in the slightest,” said Man Booker judge Rowan Pelling in last weekend’s Sunday Times of the surprisingly long-listed Matt Thorne (“I love him dearly”). But maybe, to eliminate such suspicions, a spell of social self-denial would be advisable for the convivial Erotic Review editor; rather than, as at Bloomsbury’s bash, wandering around with Susanna Clarke, fellow Cambridge resident and potential front-runner.

  • Speaking of Ms. Pelling, she has resigned from the Erotic Review, claiming the publication’s new location will be a turn-off to contributors who like to lounge around on office sofas for inspiration.
  • Amy’s Robot offers an MP3 of Dave Eggers’ appearance on Conan O’Brien’s show. (Via Galleycat.)
  • If you’ll be in the San Francisco Bay Area on September 26 and would like to see The Pixies, send Really Small Talk a 20- to 30-word humorous essay explaining why you of all applicants deserve two tickets.


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.