• Despite my best efforts, my sleeping schedule has gone to hell again. So here goes the roundup.
  • Rebecca Skloot — one of only four people on the NBCC Board of Directors who actually have a sense of humor — offers this interesting take on what David Halberstam’s untimely death means for the future of student escort drivers. Do we now have the author drive at all times because of one student’s incompetence?
  • Lionel Shriver on Ondaatje. Shriver’s apparently quite surprised that she didn’t have a strong opinion on Divisadero, and I suspect this assessment is telling on its own terms.
  • Even though I don’t possess the required estrogen, I nevertheless felt a microscopic but nonetheless discernible swoon upon listening to Alan Rickman read Sonnet 130. And that’s saying something. I’m now wondering if I should listen to audio files of Alan Rickman the next time I make muffins.
  • So how does the New Yorker fare with YouTube? (via OUP)
  • Sorry, folks, but Stephen King is right about the short story.
  • Is Laura Bush the “Reader in Chief?” I think it can be easily argued that there have been plenty of people who “has done more to dramatize the importance of reading, and libraries.” Then again, nobody said Dr. James Billington wasn’t a sycophant. In all fairnes, however, the First Lady’s reading tastes include The Brothers Karamazov, Gilead, and My Antoina. I’m wondering if Ms. Bush might readily identify with the moment in which Dimitri says, “I’m a Karamazov! When I fall into the abyss, I go straight into it, head down and heels up, and I’m even pleased that I’m falling in such a humiliating position, and for me I find it beautiful. And so in that very shame I suddenly begin a hymn. Let me be cursed, let me be base and vile, but let me also kiss the hem of that garment in which my God is clothed; let me be following the devil at the same time, but still I am also your son, Lord, and I love you, and I feel a joy without which the world cannot stand and be.”
  • Are e-books being taken seriously now? Well, given that Sony’s Howard Stringer bears more than a passing resemblance here to Jimmy Swaggart in the accompanying photo, I suspect this is probably hype.
  • I’d just like to publicly declare that Sendhil Ramamurthy is the worst actor I’ve seen on dramatic television in a long while. In fact, he’s so bad that not even Adrian Pasdar or Hayden Panettiere can make him look good. And that’s saying somethign. Come on, Kring, kill off Mohinder already. Every time that one-note twerp appears, I want to send him to the hardest Lee Stasberg-style school in New York. (And, yes, I’m digging Heroes, particularly last season’s flashback episode written by Bryan Fuller. But the show still has serious problems.)
  • Now this is quite interesting. The L.A. Times may be launching a free tabloid newspaper for commuters.
  • Douglas Brinkley has been sued. Penguin wants him to pay back his $200,000 advance because he didn’t deliver his Kerouac bio in time for the 50th anniversary of On the Road. Brinkley, who was a bit busy writing the 736-page The Great Deluge for William Morrow, said that the delay came because he wanted to properly chronicle Kerouac’s life. I’m wondering if this is petty vengeance on Penguin’s part because Brinkley jumped to another publisher. Surely, something could have been settled or worked out and this is quite an extraordinary form of resolution. Kerouac interest has not, to my knowledge, abated. And it’s just possible that this lawsuit might attract interest in the book, which will now be published by HarperCollins after Brinkley finishes it in two years. (via Booklist Online)
  • Fangoria Comics is no more.
  • Is this necessary? Frankly, I can’t see Simon Le Bon and company topping this.
  • And congratulations to Terry Teachout and Hilary Dyson!


  1. Ed:

    1. Shriver on Ondaatje: I dunno, I just finished it. It’s not a masterwork like Anil’s Ghost, but it’s not a minor work, either. It took my breath a couple of times. I was somewhat unsatisfied not to get more about Coop at the end, but really, this isn’t a mild novel, or a pretty object. It’s Ondaatje doing what he do, and it’s fucking lovely. (But that’s just me.)

    2. SK on the short story: right on.


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