Tough Talking

Move over, Madonna. James Carville’s entered the kid lit business. The tough-as-nails politico is co-authoring a picture book inspired by his mother Lucille. Early reports indicate that several children have fainted while reading the book. Editors are quietly encouraging Mr. Carville to tone down his prose.

Ursula K. Le Guin’s just nabbed a lifetime achievement award from the ALA. This is actually her fourth lifetime achievement award in the past three years, suggesting that either Le Guin has achieved enough for four lifetimes, or that there are four Ursula K. Le Guins running about.

Randy VanWarmer, singer of the Bread-like ballad “Just When I Needed You Most,” has passed away at 48.

Matthew Pearl lists ten books that have kept the spirit of Dante alive. Notably absent is the 1970s New Age bestseller, Getting in Touch with Your Inner Dante: Avoiding Infernos with Smiles and Sideburns.

Salon has an excerpt from Chalmers Johnson’s The Sorrows of Empire.

The Christian Science Monitor interviews Edith Grossman on the new Quixote translation: “The differences: modern technology, especially in communications, has changed the world drastically; in the industrialized world at least, the majority of people are literate. As a consequence, the oral tradition at Sancho’s disposal is becoming — or already may be — extinct.”

Elmore Leonard’s Rules of Writing (via Good Reports) And, in fact, here’s the complete “Writers on Writing” series (now compiled in a book), which includes Donald E. Westlake on psuedonyms, E.L. Doctorow on the effects of film upon lit, Louise Erdrich on language, Richard Ford on not writing, Ed McBain on mystery archetypes, and Kurt Vonnegut on writing classes (among many more).

Helen Oyeyemi signed a two-book deal for ?400,000 and didn’t tell her parents. She also forgot to take out the garbage. (via Maud)

The Handmaid’s Tale is being turned into an opera! (via Elegant Variation)

To Check Out Later: The Orange Word has an impressive of writer and screenwriter interviews archive up. (via Crooked Timber)

Pop Matters asks: Does South Africa have it in for Coetzee?

Sean Penn writes about his Iraq trip.

And Braun’s out.

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