• If you were as impressed as I was with A.M. Homes’ recent New Yorker essay about meeting her birth parents, listen to her discussion with NPR’s Madeleine Brand about the experience.
  • Officials at the Clinton presidential library are trying to seal a deal with Graceland that would enable tourists to hop a bus from Memphis to Little Rock as part of a two-for-one sightseeing deal.
  • “The New Yorker was said to have been conceived in a world of champagne vapours with the backing of a yeast tycoon, but the early years were lean. When Ross asked Dorothy Parker why she had not come into the office to write her piece she replied: ‘Someone was using the pencil.'”
  • Larry Brown encouraged the sister of John O’Brien (Leaving Las Vegas) to keep writing after her brother committed suicide. Now, nearly a month after Brown’s own death, and on the eve of her own novel’s publication, Erin O’Brien remembers her correspondence with the great southern writer. (Via Moorish Girl.)
  • I’m waiting for my stepdaughter’s visit to brave Jim Carrey and see the Lemony Snicket movie, but this Guardian review piques my interest:

    The picture begins with an awful, brightly coloured, sentimental animated film about a cheerful little elf skipping around in the forest. Suddenly, this movie is stopped in its tracks by Snicket himself in an Italo Calvino sort of way. If you want to see that movie, go to the next cinema in the multiplex or, if you are on a plane, switch to another channel. What he has in store for us is a tale of real-life misery, shot in desaturated colours in a world where sorrow and terror lurk. This is funny, arresting, postmodern stuff and we feel we’re in good hands.

  • I rudely failed to respond in time to Newley Purnell’s request to participate in his best books of 2004 survey, but some of my pals in the literary blogosphere weighed in. My own picks are slated to appear in Newsday — next weekend, I think — so I won’t be posting anything on the subject until then.
  • The Guardian has published a new short story from Colm Toibin.


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