• Interviews cause Annie Proulx physical pain, but Carl Hiassen will take you bonefishing and remind you that nature “can kick our ass, that we’re just gnats.”
  • Esquire reprinted Gore Vidal’s decades-old attack on William F. Buckley, somehow forgetting that it was “the subject of a libel suit the first time around.” A letter of apology to Buckley will appear in an upcoming issue of the magazine.
  • DJ Taylor deconstructs the “fine liberal” stance that “all literary taste [is] relative” and “Dan Brown [should appear on a bookseller’s shelves] next to AS Byatt on the grounds that both of them are ‘writers.'”
  • Invoking Borges’ “The Library of Babel,” Salon’s Andrew Leonard considers whether the Google library deal will result in information overload and comes to the same conclusion I do: pshaw, bring on the searchable classics!
  • Some quick screen adaptation news, all from the same place: Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach are at work on a script based on Roald Dahl’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox, which will be animated by Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas). At the moment, Selick is animating the screen version of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. He hopes to wrap that up in a little less than two years. And Willem Dafoe reports that the movie based on Patricia Highsmith’s Mr. Ripley’s Return is in post-production.
  • Writers, I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Bookangst is an indispensable source of information about the inner machinery of publishing. Its editor (known as “Mad Max Perkins” in blogland) is, in the words of Michael Cader:

    a highly-respected, longtime big six publishing veteran trying to help change things for the better– and serious about wanting to hear from (and protect the identity of) others in the publishing world.

  • Orhan Pamuk, Margaret Drabble, Tibor Meray, Bei Dao, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio, Jean Baudrillard, Luis SepulvedaTibor Meray, Erling Kittelsen, and Mo Yan, are among the writers who will consider “Writing for Peace” at the second International Forum for Literature, which will convene in Seoul next May.
  • If you’ve been following the homeland security nomination controversy that’s blown up around former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik (with shock waves involving his former mistress, publisher Judith Regan), you’ll want to pick up this month’s Vanity Fair for Judith Newman’s Regan piece.
  • Agreeing to serve as one of the judges for one of Britain’s most prestigious literary prizes, Hugh Grant named Portnoy’s Complaint as one of his favorite novels. There’s a joke in here somewhere, maybe, but I’m still recovering from a mandatory “office holiday party,” so I’m afraid you’re on your own.


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