• I’ve just learned that the Terre Haute bloggers are now planning a six-week symposium entitled How to Discourage Reading Through Soporific Lectures. They are currently lining up speakers. If you are a bland individual who has not laughed once in the past six years or you think jellybeans are extraneous or you think people should read their books in the same manner in which they are prescribed Brussels sprouts for dinner, please let them know. They are hoping to find the most boring and ponderous people for their lecture series. Bonus points if you ain’t gettin’ any. (And it also appears that a symposium on nose picking is also in the works. These are exciting times!)
  • I’m going to try to confirm this myself, but Levi reports the sad news that Philomene Long has passed away.
  • John Holbo notes that a Jack Kirby biopic is greatly overdue.
  • Well, why would you audition Elizabeth Crane anyway?
  • Apparently, books strike fear in the prison system. Or maybe thye’re afraid that the convicts will become too smart. Never mind that the prison-industrial complex is allegedly supposed to rehabilitate. (Why else refer to them as penitentiaries or correctional institutions?) It’s worth observing that a little known piece of California progressivism, put into action by San Quentin librarian Herman Sopector, called bibliotherapy enabled Eldridge Cleaver to write Soul on Ice. I first learned about all this when reading Joseph T. Hallinan’s excellent book, Going Up the River: Travels in a Prison Nation. For furtherreading on the subject, check out Eric Cummins’ The Rise and Fall of California’s Radical Prison Movement. (Recent news via Quill & Quire)
  • Carolyn Kellogg is now a teacher! I hope we get some long-form teaching narratives soon.
  • RIP Edward Seidensticker.
  • Three words, Adam: FedEx Home Delivery. There’s no way you can purge them all — as I sadly learned — and this is the cheapest option.
  • The economics of pop music. (via Kevin)
  • Jeff VanderMeer on choosing an agent.
  • Ethan Persoff talks about his dirty comics collection.
  • Jane Austen’s latter years will be the subject of a new BBC drama. In fact, there are now so many dramas covering so many years of Jane Austen’s life that the producers of Teletubbies are also contemplating a drama. The new project, It is a Perambulator Universally Acknowledged, will cover Austen’s existence between one and three years old.
  • And slap me on the wrist and call me an apple turnover! I completely missed this Jose Saramago profile.


  1. Ed, capitalism ceases to work when you add all those unemplyed people in all the prisons back into the population. Our (supposedly) broken system is a safeguard against large-scale social unrest. And it works pretty darn well, evil clever jerks that our leaders all are.

  2. Don’t we have to clear the Kirby idea with Lethem first? After all, he is the expert on everything that ever happened in pop culture since WW2 ended. At least, that’s what I thought he said. No one knows more about comics or movies or music than Lethem. Of course, he’s totally over it. All of it. Because now he’s a big boy. But still, I don’t know. I think we should run it by Lethem first.

  3. Thanks for the tip, Ed (it’s funny that you mention it, but I have a giant painting that’s being shipped FedEx Ground to my future residence).

    I’ve had a hard time saying goodbye to a lot of them. Most of them went to my friend from NYC. When she moved here she had to get rid of 400 books. I can’t imagine the pain in that. So I’m sort of “paying it forward”.

    (And sorry I didn’t notice the link earlier–I’m a busy bee these days–who would have thought moving took so much time?)

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