• Arab Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz has died. He was 94. Laila promises to have more.
  • Levi Asher serves up five comic books you may not have heard about. Unless, of course, you have heard about them — in which case, I’m sure Levi would like you to hear about them again. The hope here is that somewhere along the line, a person who least expects it hears you hearing about them. Unless, of course, you have no ears — in which case, I’ll provide the cornball humor.
  • Jan Underwood wrote a novel in 72 hours, among many other participants in the International 3-Day Novel Contest, which makes NaNoWriMo look like a leisurely walk on the beach. Of course, if someone gets me hooked on Benzedrine, locks me in an attic and throws away the key, I guarantee that I’ll write an incoherent mess with lots of gratuitous sex scenes with a talking gopher named Orville in two days and call it a novel too.
  • Frank Kermode wants the study of English literature to be tough again. And by tough, I think you know what Kermode means. Starving grad students simply aren’t enough. Kermode has proposed throwing them into a arena with the “Gamesters of Triskelion” music playing while they cite obscure bits of poetry. If they get one line of Milton wrong, then we cut off their finger. If they get two lines of Milton wrong, then we cut off their sibling’s finger. And if they cling to “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” (such an obvious choice!), then we throw them into the incinerator. Kermode’s views may not be particularly popular with the academic crowd right now, but he insists that there is no better way to form young minds. And if a few grad students have to die, it’s the sad cost of proper education.
  • Helen Brown observes that many authors have a tendency to return to the same characters and reveals that Michel Faber is returning to Crimson Petal territory with a slim volume called The Apple. (via the Literary Saloon)
  • Dave Munger asks “Who uses the phone book anymore?” I have to agree. Everybody knows the escort services are listed in the back pages of an alt-weekly.

One Comment

  1. Ed, please tell me that you actually meant that to read “PLUS a talking gopher named Orville.”

    Actually, your premise sounds intriguing. All you need to do is claim to be a 19-year-old Harvard sophomore female, and you’ll walk away with a three-book deal from a major publisher.

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