Robert Birnbaum asked seven indie publishers to say which titles they wish they’d published in 2009. The last sentence of the piece (from Dalkey Archive’s Martin Riker) is particularly great.
"A funny thing happened when Howard Jacobson won the Man Booker Prize last Tuesday... a smattering of people who were not even related to Mr. Jacobson stood and cheered." A profile of the new Booker winner and an exploration of his winning book, The Finkler Question, in the New York Times.
Recommended RSS-ing: A better word of the day from artist Tory Hoke, who pairs each unusual word with a hand-drawn comic. Friday's entry, "spurcitious," is charmingly defined in relation to a thumb and a hammer. Hate pictures? Other tried-and-true options include curators at Merriam-Webster, The New York Times, and this guy on Twitter.
After Herzog came out, Saul Bellow began the slow transformation from young Bellow into old Bellow, from the critically adored but little-known writer to the Nobel Prize winner whose views were solicited on every topic. In The New Yorker, Louis Menand writes about a new biography of the author, which tackles his early career. Related: our own Emily St. John Mandel on Bellow’s novel The Bellarosa Connection.
Recommended Reading: Maria Konnikova on “flow” and first-person shooters.
Freedom the program might not actually be so freeing: "It has been argued that a chronic fever of distraction and fascination arrives on waves of Wi-Fi to stunt our attention spans, encouraging writers to paddle about, tweeting and liking, instead of striking out for deeper waters..." But maybe writers need distraction, after all. (Then again: a detox might do you good.)