- Joan Didion and NPR uber-interviewer Terry Gross will be honored at the National Book Awards ceremony in November. Dideon won a National Book Award in 2005 for her memoir The Year of Magical Thinking.
- The National Library of Scotland flooded yesterday thanks to a faulty sprinkler system. It was a close call: “Some modern books and manuscripts suffered ‘surface’ water damage, but all of the ‘important, iconic’ books were saved.”
- Oops! A church in England sold some rare tomes for modest though still substantial sum to a book dealer, only to find, too late, that they are worth much, much more.
Tim Parks writes for the NYRB about writers living abroad. As he puts it, “But what about those writers who move to another country and do not change language, who continue to write in their mother tongue many years after it has ceased to be the language of daily conversation? Do the words they use grow arid and stiff? Or is there an advantage in being away from what is perhaps only the flavor of the day at home, the expressions invented today and gone tomorrow? Then, beyond specifically linguistic concerns, what audience do you write toward if you are no longer regularly speaking to people who use your language?” Pair with Hannah Gersen’s Millions piece on reading the English translation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s In Other Words.
"More than 30 years after her last big swim, Diana Nyad is back in the water," writes NPR's Greg Allen. "Nyad, a former commentator for NPR's Morning Edition, became well-known in the 1970s for her swim around Manhattan Island and, a few years later, for swimming from the Bahamas to Florida. Now, at age 61, she'll soon be attempting a 103-mile swim from Cuba to Key West." Unfortunately she's already missed Key West's Hemingway Days.
Book trailers are one thing, but what’s a literary short film? According to Red 14 founders Adam Cushman and Mike Sandow, “it's not advertising a product; it gives a cinematic glimpse into the book, one which will ideally make the viewer interested in learning more about the author, the author's current book, and the author's past and future work.” Together, the pair has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund four such films about four worthy titles (Matt Bell’s awesome debut novel among them).
The New York Review of Books posts a vintage essay by Joan Didion on the films of Woody Allen: "This notion of oneself as a kind of continuing career—something to work at, work on, 'make an effort' for and subject to an hour a day of emotional Nautilus training, all in the interests not of attaining grace but of improving one’s 'relationships'—is fairly recent in the world, at least in the world not inhabited entirely by adolescents. In fact the paradigm for the action in these recent Woody Allen movies is high school."
"I saw it as a breath of fresh dark honest night air. I could live in my grief and be weird in my grief." A.N. Devers writes about her love of Twin Peaks for Longreads, situating the show within her contemporary experiences of losing her grandparents and her girlhood.