Upton Sinclair, Soon to Appear in a Spring Break Video

The San Francisco Bay Guardian takes a long look at Professor Lauren Coodley‘s almost single-handed Upton Sinclair boosterism. She’s prepared a new anthology, The Land of Orange Grove and Jails, of Sinclair’s writings for Heyday Books. What’s interesting is that Coodley discovered Sinclair almost completely by accident, while substituting for a political science class. And apparently, the Huntington Museum turned down a collection of Sinclair’s papers.

Rundown with the Devil

  • Gore Vidal’s Civil War play On the March to the Sea has been revived and revised. The protagonist’s name has been changed to Hal I. Burton, all paternal figures will be referred to as “Bagh Dad” instead of “Dad,” and the palatial home has been rechristened “The Other White House.”
  • The Man Booker International Prize nominees have been announced and already folks are stewing over who got left out. Which includes Salman Rushdie. In related news, it turns out that the fatwah was actually reinstated not by Iran, but by literary fans who have been annoyed by Rushdie’s inability to write a decent novel since Haroun and the Sea of Stories.
  • Spread the love for Dashiel. January Magazine and Pop Matters celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Maltese Falcon
  • Larry McMurty’s son is a singer-songwriter? I wonder if he’s nabbed some tips from Kinky Friedman.
  • Random House has obtained a minority stake in Vocel, which specializes in educational content transmitted over cell phones. While Random House plans on distributing language study guides and video game tips, since e-books have for the most part failed, will cell phone users actually read a book over a Nokia?
  • And there’s more on the revival-in-progress of Upton Sinclair and Sinclair scholar Lauren Coodley’s tireless efforts.


  • Nadine Gordimer is shepherding a short story collection, Telling Tales. The book’s proceeds will go to fighting AIDS. Some of the heavyweights involved: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Gunter Grass, Salman Rushdie, John Updike, Margaret Atwood and Woody Allen.
  • Because the hardback wasn’t turgid enough, the paperback release of Bill Clinton’s My Life will be published in two paperback formats: one that describes his presidential achievements and the other describing the linguistical disadvantages of referring to people as “that woman.”
  • A rare set of George Washington letters is being auctioned. The letters show that Washington consulted with Thomas Jefferson on capitalizing certain nouns. But because Washington was a hopeless speller, he was more interested in a cookie recipe for Martha that Jefferson had devised at Monticello.
  • Upton Sinclair is heading for a comeback. Historian Lauren Coodley has edited a book showing that Sinclair was far more than a muckraker. He published 100 books, he was a health nut, and, contrary to popular belief, not once did he step foot in a jungle.
  • And Jim Warren, the man behind fantastic back cover ads for skulls and Famous Monsters of Filmland, gets a thorough profile.