• Ian McEwan may be taking a page out of Margaret Atwood’s playbook. McEwan has decided to forego touring for On Chesil Beach, replacing his bookstore appearances with a 23 minute film. But here’s the question: do people really want to go to a bookstore to see a film of an author? Particularly if they can download the film off the Internet? I agree that the current idea of an author reading is flawed and that some authors simply lack the pizazz to work a room. But if bookstores want to keep on thriving and have their customers return, there’s no substitute for live author appearances, where readers can ask questions and authors can personally inscribe their books, as odious as the task might be for the author. (via Bookdwarf)
  • I agree with Bill Peschel. Lynne Scanlon is really missing the point about the Vagina Monologues debacle. Besides, what were these girls supposed to do? Tell the principal that they would, in fact, say the word “vagina” and then have the show canceled?
  • It’s a sad world indeed when The Secret Life of Bees replaces The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
  • Maud Newton chooses between Kate Atkinson and Richard Ford. All I have to say is: Ouch.
  • Forget the Tournament of Books. How about the Tournament of Reading Reports? Who will be the first to report of John Banville’s Los Angeles appearance? Mark Sarvas or Callie Miller? There’s no rooster here to be had, but certainly there’s a booster.
  • The Independent‘s Susi Feay investigates Muriel Gray’s recent claim that today’s female writers lack imagination.
  • The CliffsNotes dilemma spelled out in comic strip allegory. Years ago, I had something close to this happen to me, although I was the one to walk out. (via The Millions)
  • The Raw Shark Texts author Steven Hall muses on the number 31.
  • Terry McMillan has filed a $40 million lawsuit against her former husband, “now a hair stylist in a Danville salon.” Who knew that hair stylists had publicists?
  • Fugitive novelist Cesare Battisti has been arrested in Italy.
  • New York Magazine interviews LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy.
  • I didn’t realize this, but Eric Bogosian’s Talk Radio has been revived, with Liev Schreiber taking on Bogosian’s role.
  • Salman Rushdie: “not afraid to laugh.” Well, good for him. I didn’t realize there were authors out there who were cowering in fear from humor and I’m glad Rushdie has sought the appropriate therapy to learn how to laugh again. (via Orthofer)
  • Russell Crowe is making his directorial debut with a surf film. The story involves a bunch of needlessly angry surfers who scream at hotel clerks and beat the shit out of any detractors, when they aren’t busy throwing telephones into the ocean.
  • I find it amazing that there is only one gay and lesbian-based bookstore in the whole UK. But authors are now rallying to save it.
  • It appears that the folks at Gawker have now seen fit to emerge from their collective anonymity and sign their posts. Whether this is a testament to future accountability or an effort by Denton to keep track of his writing slaves extended family is anyone’s guess.

[UPDATE: Mark and Callie‘s respective accounts of the Los Angeles Banville reading are now up. Mark wins out for timeliness, beating Callie’s post by a mere eleven minutes. But eleven minutes! That’s what I call a close race. I certainly hope that Mark and Callie meet at some point. I can dutifully attest that Mark Sarvas does not bite people, although there are unconfirmed reports of Mark noshing on gourmet roadkill.]

[UPDATE 2: And it turns out that John Fox was at the Banville reading too! None of these three have met each other. This is criminal! All this makes me want to fly down to Los Angeles, get these three together in the same room, and not allow anyone to leave until at least twenty minutes of friendly conversation has gone down!]


  1. Damn, if One Good Turn is entertaining but forgettable, what does that make Ford’s book?

    Nonetheless, after reading the first 1/3 of The Lay of the Land, it is obvious that Ford no longer has a tight grip on the character Bascombe and instead has grown Frank into a character that is often inconsistent and sometimes unlikable and uninteresting.

    Independence Day it’s not.

  2. gawker: it was easy to tell before they signed, i think? tmftml wrote the stuff with any hint of backbone, attitude, viz., “new york sounding” — and the rest were written by the ivy league types.

  3. I too was disappointed with Lay of the Land, but in light of the history between Ford and Colson Whitehead and Whitehead’s upcoming appearance with Maud Newton, was she really the best choice to choose between the two? Hey, I realize it’s not the Pulitzer we’re talking here, but . . .

  4. Lay of the Land will not be forgettable- I’ve already read a few memorable parts- but I don’t remember being as annoyed with the previous books’ incarnation of Bascombe.

    I’m wondering now if Maud Newton (Whitehead friendliness aside), destroyed Lay of the Land just because Colin Meloy gave it such a stupid review before.

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