When J. M. Coetzee is smiling, the whole world smiles with him.

Vladimir Nabokov's writing career got its start while he was exiled in Berlin during the 1920s and '30s, when he "described how Berlin's 300,000 Russian émigrés endured life after the Bolshevik Revolution." Lesley Chamberlain parses the "artistically formative" years the great writer spent in the German capital. 

Final Cut: With the rise of multimedia in e-books and the ubiquity of tablet readers, will book editors become video editors?

At an apparently slow news day at The Guardian, the paper reports that the usually dour J. M. Coetzee cracked a smile at a recent writers' conference. "It was, admittedly, a brief smile."

Tonight at Brooklyn's BookCourt, Rick Moody reads from his forthcoming novel, The Four Fingers of Death, an epic about a disembodied arm (missing its middle finger), a doomed mission to Mars, and a lovelorn chimp. Reviewing Moody's latest in the summer issue of Bookforum (on newsstands now), James Gibbons writes that it is "here, in the intersection of narrative excess and genuine feeling, that Moody is at his most daring and arresting."