“The little-known book by a well-known author is an old and charmingly dishonorable tradition.” (Who knew Graham Greene wrote a children’s picture book? Or that Martin Amis published, in 1982, a book called Invasion of the Space Invaders: An Addict’s Guide to Battle Tactics, Big Scores and the Best Machines, which now commands up to $400 from rare book dealers, but less from Abe Books? You can play Space Invaders here.)
By age 40, the great Herman Melville “had essentially abandoned fiction altogether, tried publishing poetry with comparable success (i.e., none), and finally resigned himself — he was, after all, married, with four children and debts — to spending the rest of his life as a customs inspector for the city of New York. When he died, the newspaper obituary misprinted his name as ‘Henry Melville.'”
AL Kennedy joins Louise Welsh, Alan Warner and other writers in writing love letters to Edinburgh. Except hers isn’t exactly loving: “Later, as a drama student, I learnt that Edinburgh during the festival only permits very ugly people to be naked, due to an ancient Calvinist regulation designed to prevent the spread of sexual intercourse.”
Bob Thompson of the Washington Postreports on D.C.’s National Book Festival, which was surrounded this year by anti-war protestors (except those who were prevented from attending by sudden delays on the NYC-to-D.C. Amtrak line). Michael Chabon takes issue with the report.
Peter Terzian sits down with 80 years of The New Yorker on DVD and considers planning the next 11 1/2 years of his life around reading every issue.
Emma Garman reflects on the emergence of photos of Kate Moss’ cocaine binge only months after the model successfully sued the Daily Mirror for claiming she once slipped into a coma because she overdid it on the blow. Says Garman, “if rule one of celebrity media relations is ‘Deny everything,’ rule two is ‘Don’t sue a paper when what it printed is true.'”