Looking for something to watch this weekend? Got Hulu Plus? Well, start working your way through the veritable treasure trove that is the Criterion Collection. And don’t worry. If you’re as overwhelmed by the selection as I am, this top ten list by filmmaker Dean Peterson can serve as a great guide. Also, for what it’s worth, I’m partial to Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev.
Could this be the start of a trend? HarperCollins paid the singer Billy Joel $3 million for a memoir back in 2008. Joel wrote The Book of Joel, the publisher edited it, and a June publication date was set. Last week, however, Joel abruptly backed out of the deal and apparently will return the portion of the advance he's been paid. His reason? He told the Associated Press he "was not all that interested in talking about the past."
"It is so chic to be an author. To be known for one's writing is to be truly known, do you not think?" Mindy Kaling states in the beginning of B.J. Novak's French New Wave satire book trailer. Novak isn't just Ryan from The Office, he also writes fiction. His short story collection, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, will be out February 4th, but in the meantime, you can read an excerpt at NPR.
Recommended reading: Alex Beam on the distinction between books and "books."
City of Quartz author Mike Davis is writing a biography of the Los Angeles Times' bygone publisher Harrison Gray Otis. Appropriately, the installments will be serialized by the Los Angeles Review of Books.
If we are, as Adam Kirsch writes, in the midst of a golden age of essays, we might want to ask exactly which essays are proof of this golden age. His first three picks -- My Heart is an Idiot, I Was Told There’d Be Cake and Pulphead -- are unsurprising choices, but then it gets a bit more interesting when he looks at Sheila Heti’s latest novel. (You could also check out a few of our pieces on these books.)