Monday morning miscellany

  • Ian Jack recalls being asked to consider the last written work of Martha Gellhorn, who once wrote his Granta predecessor a letter including the sentence: “I will not cut you dead in the street but I will never again have anything to do with you as an editor or publisher.” Jack bravely rejected Gellhorn’s submission.
  • Socially conscious Southern evangelicals are getting increasingly fed up with their more reactionary, empathy-challenged brethren. And some of them are invoking the actual language of the Bible — and Flannery O’Connor.
  • People occasionally ask how I can fall at the feet of Beckett but remain so unmoved by most of the contemporary writers he’s influenced. From now on, I’ll refer them to Patrick Kurp’s meditations.
  • Readings given by Jonathan Lethem, Gary Shteyngart, Colson Whitehead, Paul Auster, Jhumpa Lahiri, John Hodgman, Jonathan Safran Foer and Rick Moody have raised $12,000 toward a library for a Brooklyn school.
  • Terry Eagleton looks beyond David Lodge’s reasons for the current spate of novels based on the life of Henry James.
  • The Guardian summarizes mixed reviews of a new Hardy biography.
  • Revisiting Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, Helen Simpson recalls the author’s observation that “The short story is not minimalist, it is rococo. I feel in absolute control. It is like writing chamber music rather than symphonies.”
  • My friend Kate sends news of the most amazing toy since Lite-Brite or Etch-a-Sketch. Paint with your words, your favorite photos, or even perfect replicas of your blinking eye. It’s just a prototype right now, courtesy of MIT.


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