New Books, Arty Books, Odd Books

The Guardian has a nuts and bolts profile of John Gregory Dunne, who passed away over the New Year’s weekend. A final novel, Nothing Lost, is planned for publication later this year.

Colson Whitehead’s next book has the man going crazy over New York in a collection of essays. Newsday doesn’t get much out of him, but it does note that Whitehead’s third novel is due out this spring. Oh, and he’s bought a home in Brooklyn with the MacArthur money. Hard reporting that boils down to this: Isn’t it good to be a hot, young thing?

Can you judge a book by its cover? New York book fetishists may want to check out the New York Public Library. Virginia Bartow has selected 90 books, trying to see if the books in questions can say something without being read. Included is Agrippa, a collaboration between William Gibson and Dennis Ashbaugh encoded in the first letters of DNA’s nucleic acids and a poem on a floppy disk that encrypts data upon access.

L. Frank Baum published two books in 1900. One was The Wizard of Oz, the other was The Art of Decorating Dry Goods Windows. Stuart Culver has a little more. Among Baum’s observations: “You must arouse in the observer cupidity and a longing to possess the goods you sell.” “Arousing the cupidity” didn’t actually work for Baum himself though. Most of his business speculations failed, but the Oz books did well.

And a moment of candor from the Post re: blogs? Or are they riffing with alt-weekly angst to keep up? Whatever the case, it’s a strange read from the paper of Woodward and Bernstein. (via Sarah)

[1/21/06 UPDATE: Dunne’s Nothing Lost (called by Kipen a “sloppy, fun swan song”), of course, was completely subsumed by Joan Didion’s memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking, which, like nearly every Didion nonfiction book, has gone on to win nearly every nonfiction award. And I should point out I’m just as defensive about blogs today as I was two years ago. I need to be more critical.]