• Apparently, the Chicago Sun-Times wants to redefine itself as a liberal, working-class paper. Presumably, this is a clever ploy to pay the staff abysmal salaries. But no matter. What is most interesting here is that Books Editor Cheryl Reed has become the Editorial Page Director. Does this mean the Books section is dead?
  • Dan Green on Tom McCarthy’s Remainder.
  • Sebastian Faulks has written a new James Bond novel.
  • Daft Punk: “The encore was just fantastic. two red lines were released from the pyramid, travelling around the outer frame like a game of snake, entering back into the pyramid at the base, then upwards until the lines connected with the artists, transforming their robot costumes into glowing red outlines.” At the next show, the encore will involve three green lines extending into a middle finger and then a series of words across the pyramid reading “WE ARE DAFT PUNK AND YOU ARE SUCKERS! WE TOOK YOUR MONEY BECAUSE YOU ARE EASILY AMUSED BY LIGHTS! NEXT TIME, OUR AVARICE WILL BE HARDER, BETTER, FASTER, STRONGER!” The crowd will nevertheless be wowed by the “performance” of two guys resembling a bad Tron ripoff. Look, I like Daft Punk as much as the next guy and perhaps in piecemeal (say, in a festival environment with several other bands, as I saw them a few years ago at Coachella), their postmodern presence works. But what makes their stage act anything more than a needlessly gargantuan planetarium laser show? Does watching two guys in robot suits and lots of lights extruding from a pyramid really justify the $50 ticket purchase? Particularly if one is way in the back? That’s all I’m saying.
  • “How to Write the Great American Novel.”
  • Here’s one reason to be less liberal about ordaining reverends.
  • RIP Doug Marlette. The cartooning world needs more provocateurs.
  • Motoko Rich investigates the phenomenon of Sara Greun, who built up her reputation entirely on word-of-mouth and even beat out two Oprah books this summer. Wait a minute! I thought television had whacked the novel!
  • And if reading is dead, why then are more Brits reading books now than in 1975?
  • Publishers Weekly examines the seemingly limitless social networking sites devoted to books.
  • EW offers a literary stars list. I’d deem it dubious, had not EW included Warren Ellis on the list, who observed of writing Crooked Little Vein, “It came down to banging out a thousand words a day in the pub before I started the day’s comics work. If it wasn’t for Red Bull and Silk Cut cigarettes, the damn thing would never have seen the light of day.”
  • Good Christ, people are talking about Jane Austen! But is there any real cause for alarm here? (via Isak)
  • OK Computer turned ten today? Christ, I’m getting old.
  • Colleen on mysterious houses.
  • How to get that literary guy’s attention. I’m no great fan of Anne Rice, but if you’re going to badmouth her, at least least spell her name right. (“Grammar is everything,” my ass.) And wait a minute, isn’t it the guy who’s supposed to walk up to a girl and get her attention? I fear that several young men with good intentions will be laid astray by Adam’s well-intended advice. (Adam, what the hell’s going on, sir? Put down that issue of Maxim posthaste!) Lounging about and waiting for something to happen will not cut the mustard! Action is needed! Why not simply walk up to a lady and ask about the book she’s reading? From there, after the inevitable trial and error, great conversational and flirtatious possibilities await!


  1. No idea about the book section impact, but I’d characterize the Sun-Times action as “restoring” itself as liberal and working-class, not “redefining” – the paper would be going back to its populist, pre-Rubert Murdoch, pre-Conrad Black roots. As much as it pained him to do so, Mike Royko quit the Sun-Times when Murdoch took over, not wanting any part of Rupe’s tabloid journalism, which left Royko with the hated, right-wing Tribune as his only viable Chicago employer. He wrote for the Trib for the rest of his too-short life.

    I wish the Sun-Times the best of luck – if nothing else, any new initiative that gives George Will and Robert Novak one less syndication outlet is just fine with me. (I’m all for freedom of speech, mind you, so let those two yahoos go over to the Tribune where they rightly belong.)

  2. I spelled her name wrong? I normally Google names before I post something. I’ve pointed out on my blog to insult me if I get something wrong. So, thank you, sir! May I please have some more?

    Dude, Ed. The sheer amount of hate I’ve received from my quasi-Cosmo magazine article has been… deserved, apparently. I was poking fun at Maxim and Cosmo and Self; no one seems to have picked up on that. I guess it has to be an Onion article for it to be real satire?

    As for women: I am the one who approaches them, even if I do get maced sometimes.

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