Alexander McCall Smith’s new one, 44 Scotland Street, will be serialized in the Scotsman. (via Publisher’s Lunch)
To his supreme credit, Alexander McCall Smith claims that his remarks about Irvine Welsh have been “misinterpreted.” Welsh’s status has been downgraded to “a partially indecent hooligan whom I’ll never buy a drink for.”
A new Michigan law requires publications that depict “explicit content” to be covered up. Booksellers and reading groups are furious. And they’ve filed a lawsuit. In the meantime, they may want to consider covering up Ann Coulter’s books. Pretty explicit stuff, given that she’s advocated blowing up the New York Times building, as well as suggesting, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” (via Sarah)
Catherine Kennan has a very juicy piece on highbrow personals. It doesn’t get any closer to understanding the phenomenon (who can?), but it does feature a very amusing exchange between Kennan and one of the guys behind a personal ad. And it’s impossible to resist this ad: “Find the 10th coefficient in the expansion of the binomial (1+x) to the 20th power. Then love me some more. Mathematical Ms, Cambridge.” (via Chica)
The latest culprit behind declining book sales? USA Today suggests it’s the DVD.
Sarah Waters has turned down a Who’s Who entry because she’s not sure how relevant the directory is to today’s world.
Columbia Journalism Review has a piece on former New Republic editor Gregg Easterbrook. It’s another guy fired because of blog story, but the cause here is far more nefarious (and strangely immediate).
And more on Norr from the Daily Planet. Efforts to track down settlement terms are nice from an outside source, but there are few conditional questions revealed.
And the Whitbread goes to Mark Haddon’s The Very, Very Curious Incident of the Dog Who Was Let Out by the Baja Men in the Morning, Afternoon and Night Shortly After He Was Fed His Meal, which I’ve been meaning to read. Except I can never remember the exact title.
I didn’t realize the Alexander McCall Smith/Irvine Welsh thing had legs, but even in Scotland, they need their “bag of bones”/”entertainment not literature” Vidal/Mailer in-fights.
Andy Hamilton won’t write for BBC1. Hamilton claims that Auntie Beeb has pressured a writer to remove lesbian characters from a script to “incorporate the conservative tastes of focus groups.”
Modern Humorist: “Where are all the R’s? Is it a typographical error? Does the writer simply not like R’s? Or are there mysterious deeds at play, and are the R’s somewhow involved?”
Birnbaum talks with Jonathan Lethem. Birnbaum even gets Lethem to fess that Laura Miller is “making a contribution to literary journalism.” Birnbaum also shoots the goofy gale with Neal Pollack. Among the revelations: “[Eggers] said he didn’t want me along because my stuff was much more confrontational and in your face and aggressive and loud and profane. He wanted to take McSweeney’s in a more respectable direction. And then one day I woke up and my link was off the site. And I wasn’t a McSweeney’s guy anymore. Overnight. My main conduit for communicating over the Internet had been removed, so I had to start my own site.”
And The Chronicle has apparently reached a settlement with Henry Norr.
[1/23/06 UPDATE: It is quite likely that the Henry Norr story will be slipped under the rug. But I think it stands as a remarkable testament as to how a journalist’s outside activities are controlled to a great extent by his employer. As the newspapers continue to cut the coverage and eventually begin to drop, I am wondering if they’ll become even more controlling. Henry Norr, happily, is still writing — largely for online outlets. He can be found contributing reports for Macintouch and is still actively filing no-bullshit Macworld reports from the front lines.]