Catch-up miscellany explosion

  • I learned week before last that my indignation at the Ernest Hemingway furniture collection was probably misplaced. Now comes the news that Graham Greene “wonder[ed] if Peter Jones’s decision to sell knickers in a colour called ‘Brighton Rock’ was proof of real fame.” Next thing you know, I’ll find out that Beckett once appeared in a Big Mac commercial.
  • Philip Connors (author of the best n+1 essay yet) lauds the writings of the ornery Edward Abbey, whose name evokes “looks of condescension and pity” among Manhattanites, who think “you’ve mispronounced the name of a well-known playwright.”
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells Robert Birnbaum about an American who announced, on the publication of Purple Hibiscus, that the book was “‘not authentic because the characters are too familiar.” “What struck me then,” says Adichie, “was he had come to expect something of Africa, so the characters had to be unfamiliar and strange.” See also Adichie’s remarks following a recent 192 Books reading.
  • Sylvia Plath is not the only poet-lover in Ted Hughes’ life who killed herself. She’s just the only one he really talked about.
  • VSL (where I’m on the advisory board) admires Harry G. Frankfurt’s On Truth. Frankfurt is best known for last year’s On Bullshit.
  • “Get a grip, people, either get on with it and write your book, at the weekend, after work, before work, during the vacation, or on a pitiful part-time income, or choose a proper way to get rich and famous.”
  • In This Is Not a Love Song, Lauren Cerand, independent publicist and author of The Smart Set, lays into traditional publicists for the “heavy-handed and presumptuous inquiries” bloggers too often receive from them.
  • The Literary Saloon denounces publishers’ embargoes and rounds up recent articles on the topic.
  • New Yorkers: why buy the New York Times, and line David Brooks’ pockets, when you can read the whole paper — including archives dating from 1995– for free from home with a public library card?
  • A Florida jury has awarded $11.3 million in damages for libelous Internet posts, astonishing defamation expert Lyrissa Lidsky. See also: this old interview with Lidsky, a former professor of mine, about bloggers’ liability for defamatory statements.
  • Note that this link is not to The Onion: “Candidate proposes using textbooks as shields.” (Thanks, Matt.)
  • Fran Moravcsik attends the Alison Bechdel-Phranc art show.
  • Agatha Christie once went missing for eleven days. A new biography attributes her mysterious disappearance to a fugue state.
  • The Voice awards Jenny Davidson’s Light Reading, one of my RSS mainstays, the distinction of best local literary blog.
  • The curator of The Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library, the nation’s largest collection of cartoons, takes NPR on a tour.
  • Alex Beam wants to be fair to Sony’s new E-reader. It’s lightweight, with a “superb” reading screen. Problems don’t arise until “you actually want to read books.”
  • The City Mouse revisits the maudlin journals she kept while living in Webster Apartments, established in 1916 “solely for the purpose of providing unmarried working women with homes and wholesome food at a small cost to them.”


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