Wednesday evening miscellany

  • Formerly reclusive Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee will appear in an advertising campaign “extolling the advantages of becoming an Australian citizen.”
  • Pinky’s Paperhaus serves up three podcast installments of a talk with Aimee Bender. Somewhere in Nova Scotia, Stephany Aulenback is turning cartwheels.
  • Pinky also recalls meeting a shirtless Rupert Pole, still dashing and racy at 71 — even while cooking aparagus and listening to NPR. Pole wedded Anaïs Nin while she was still married to another man, and was her final caretaker. He died a few weeks ago.
  • Jonathan Lethem describes the book he’s just finished writing: “a short and deliberately foolish novel called You Don’t Love Me Yet, set in Los Angeles in the (approximately) early nineties, about discombobulated twenty-somethings in Echo Park who form a band and then accidentally steal the lyrics to their only good song.”
  • British writer Lionel Shriver, disgusted with computer art, is drawing her own book cover.
  • When literary agent William Clegg went M.I.A. last year, his authors sought representation elsewhere. Now he’s re-tacked up his shingle, at William Morris, and many of the writers who’ve worked with him — including Stephen Elliott and Nick Flynn — have signed back up. Former clients Nicole Krauss and Andrew Sean Greer, on the other hand, show no signs of returning to the nest.
  • Finally: the AP looks into the protacted and unnecessary detention of writer Edwidge Danticat’s minister uncle, who died in Homeland Security custody although he had a valid visa to enter the country from Haiti. Haiti being the key word here.
  • Waggish lists purveyors of left-brained literature, by which he means a “parallel track of literature that that is popular specifically amongst engineers” like his colleagues. Writers I, a math-averse soul, like on the list: Jorge Luis Borges and Nicholson Baker, and some Murakami, DeLillo, Gibson, and Calvino. I still need to read Colson Whitehead. (Via The Mumpsimus.)
  • Michael Wood enters a mixed verdict on a new translation of Dumas’ The Three Musketeers. It’s “very readable (as are its predecessors),” he says. But “there are quite a few lapses into pure translationese, that language that no one ever speaks.” (Via The Literary Saloon.)
  • Laila Lalami, who first alerted me to Alison Bechdel’s amazing Fun Home, reviews the book for The Boston Globe. At Powell’s you can watch video of Bechdel discussing the book and read an interview featuring both Bechdel and Craig Thompson.


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