• Inga Kuznetsova, a PEN American Center World Voices panelist
    April 30, 2010

    Apr 30, 2010 @ 8:00:00 am

    A curtain call for Ted Willams at the Library of America, as John Updike's classic essay on Williams, "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu," is republished as a new volume, fifty years after the Splendid Splinter's last at bat, in which he blasted a homer and then didn't tip his cap to the crowd.

    Surfing the Voice Literary Supplement's online archives with artforum.com editor-at-large Brian Sholis.

    Take a long lunch break—or the day off—and wander over to the PEN American Center's World Voices Festival this afternoon. Among the many edifying events is "Utopia and Dystopia: Geographies of the Possible,"

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  • The 1930s Kindle, Allen Lane's Penguincubator
    April 29, 2010

    Apr 29, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    In the 1930s, publisher Allen Lane installed a book-vending machine, the Penguincubator, in places where books were not supposed to be. What can we learn from Lane?

    "Tell all the truth but tell it slant," Emily Dickinson wrote, and scholars have been slanting her life-story ever since. Lyndall Gordon tips the familiar Dickinson myths and spills new revelations in Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and her Family’s Feud. Gordon places Dickinson at the center of a "seething Peyton Place of adultery, betrayal and lifelong feuding," and posits that perhaps Dickinson was epileptic


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  • Kevin Keller, from archiecomics.com
    April 28, 2010

    Apr 28, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    Stephen Ambrose liked Ike plenty, but seems to have known him less well than previously thought. The popular historian's apparently faked interviews with Dwight D. Eisenhower have scholars scrambling—how many have cited Ambrose's allegedly fictional footnotes? 

    A brief on the short story's sinister appeal from this weekend’s LA Times Book Festival.

    Ken Auletta chats with the Terry Gross about e-book's viability as publishing's (latest) savior. Meanwhile, David Quigg thinks Auletta "has stopped making sense".

    Archie Comics introduces its first gay character, resulting in "hand-wringing and

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  • Charles Willeford
    April 27, 2010

    Apr 27, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    Luscious and lurid, a Charles Willeford paperback is a sure score whether found in a dusty attic or in an upscale Brooklyn flea market bin. Tonight, Thirty Days Gallery hosts a Willeford symposium. He was known for his crime novels, but wasn't afraid to delve into seedier territory. His 1988 autobiography, I was Looking for a Street, was recently re-released as a Picturebox paperback edition, emblazoned with both a Jonthan Lethem blurb and an introduction from Luc Sante. Resale rates must be skyrocketing; do we hear the Library of America calling?

    Michael Foley, author of The Age of Absurdity:

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  • April 26, 2010

    Apr 26, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    Bard of the postwar British working-class Alan Sillitoe has died at age eighty-two. Known for the novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958)and the story collection The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1959), Sillitoe was pretty mad about being lumped in with the Angry Young Man brand of British literature. He'll be widely eulogized with a quote from the film version of Saturday Night: Whatever people say I am, that's what I'm not.” But it is an earlier line in that scene that's more expressive of Sillitoe’s art: "I'm not barmy, I'm a fighting pit-prop that wants a pint of beer,

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  • April 23, 2010

    Apr 23, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Jonathan Lethem has been tapped to fill David Foster Wallace's old teaching gig at Pomona College, while editor Sean McDonald, best known for his work on James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, is heading to FSG to take Lorin Stein's old job, as Stein helms the Paris Review.

    Let the buzz begin; Tom McCarthy's forthcoming follow-up novel to his much praised volume Remainder, the one-letter titled C, has already caused a stir in the book world. That's in part because of Peter Mendelsund's striking dot-dot-dash book jacket. The Knopf designer chats with McCarthy and Casual Optimist blogger Dan

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  • Joshua Ferris
    April 22, 2010

    Apr 22, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Tonight at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Joshua Ferris discusses his new novel The Unnamed with Daniel Menaker. Ferris, whose first novel, Then We Came to the End, won wide acclaim for its mix of office angst and first-person-plural laughs, takes a different tack with The Unnamed, a Beckett-esque fable about the perils of compulsive perambulation

    M. P. Shiel's 1901 work A Purple Cloud is puffy with purple prose, but oddly prescient.   

    Naked Launch: A frozen moment when you realize that the newly syndicated Barnes and Noble reviews on Salon might be a bit undercooked. Stefan Beck sends 

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  • April 21, 2010

    Apr 21, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    "Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company," Mark Twain quipped; we wonder who he's hobnobbing with today, the centenary of his death. Twain, a high school dropout, draft-dodger, and rascal to the last, was not just any American, he was, as he liked to say, "the American.”

    From Collier's Weekly, a 1910 verse account of his last day, and from the New York Times, an absorbing display of his library, where you can peruse his acerbic marginalia. Equally cutting is Gary Indiana's take on recent books about Twain's last decade.

    Twain biographer Ron Powers writes of how a chance encounter

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  • This airborne toxic event is giving the London Book Fair the doldrums
    April 20, 2010

    Apr 20, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    The "Airborne Toxic Event" has finally come to pass, just in time for Delillo fans to joke about it at the sparsely attended London Book Fair.

    Ask your barista for a triple grande Balzac: the author had a "horrible, rather brutal method" for overcoming writer's block—a coffee creation so sinister that he recommended it "only to men of excessive vigor" (it eventually killed him). Elsewhere in Lapham’s Quarterly, a visual guide to the stronger stuff writers imbibed. 

    Cory Doctorow asks, "can you survive a benevolent dictatorship?" You'd think he was talking about politics; but, alas, it's just

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