Weekend Watch

  • Steinbeck’s hometown will lose its public library system because of a financial crisis. Locals have placed a black armband onto a six foot bronze Steinbeck statue.
  • Salon interviews Jerry Stahl: “I’ve pretty much been pegged for life as ‘that junkie who wrote ALF.'”
  • Sylvia Plath’s Ariiel has been read in its entirety for the first time. Several effigies of Ted Hughes were burned, but not enough of them had been created to last throughout the duration.
  • Hemingway’s secretary has penned a memoir. The book will be part of a new Modern Library series called For Whom the Staff Tolls, which will include memoirs from Papa’s accountant, cook, and masseuse.
  • A secret staircase reported to be the inspiration for Mrs. Rochester has been rediscovered in North Yorkshire. Several actors in the area have offered to fill in for the mad woman in the attic, but none of them have proved convincing enough for the local historical society.
  • Nick Hornby addresses the “no snark” policy at The Beleiver: “And of course, there’s no consensus on what is an ‘egregiously bad’ book.” Apparently, he hasn’t read I Am Charlotte Simmons.
  • Ian McEwan reveals some dirt about his new novel: “a British neurosurgeon, Henry Perowne, leaves his central London house to pick up his car – a sleek, silver Mercedes 500 – to drive to his regular game of squash.” Not much, but at a recent reading, McEwan also read a passage about Perowne overcoming his shame in owning a car. McEwan also assures the Times that he isn’t taking any kickbacks from BMW.
  • The upcoming Barbara Boxer novel (which, along with Mark, I must express my apologies for) gets some press at the Contra Costa Times. Giving new meaning to the mantra “Write about what you know,” its protagonist is “an activist senator who does battle with right-wing ideologues.” It remains my firm hope that Boxer spends more time doing battle in real life rather than fiction over the next four years.