Gore Vidal has died at the age of 86. The prominent author, screenwriter, Norman Mailer-nemesis and political activist published 25 novels, two memoirs and many, many essay volumes in addition to plays, screenplays, and television scripts. For a time, he even loaned his own visage to the silver screen, as Mindy Hung recently pointed out on our site.
The Tournament of Books declares a winner! It was down to two in the last round: Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom (called “big, messy, flawed, enraging, and engrossing” by C. Max Magee, one of the final round judges) and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad (which “ached with feeling and tension…”) Find out who won at The Morning News!
In a move that will likely become more and more common, The Weinstein Company has inked a deal with Netflix to license some of its latest (and most critically acclaimed) films to Instant Watch instead of traditional cable outlets. Coriolanus, Undefeated, and The Artist will be among the first titles released. Elsewhere, Vanity Fair profiles Netflix’s “bloody but only slightly bowed” CEO, Reed Hastings.
At My Life and Thoughts, Elif Batuman–in delightfully Elifish style–describes her first book travails and unveils a preliminary sketch for the cover of her forthcoming first book The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, drawn by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast.
Is readability a myth? In an article for The Atlantic Noah Berlatsky argues that there are no “easy” or “difficult” books, or rather that these are relative terms – a book that gives one person fits may be light reading for someone else. His argument pairs interestingly with our own Emily Colette Wilkinson‘s “Difficult Books” series.
David Lipsky writes for Harper’s about Letters to Véra, which collects Vladimir Nabokov’s letters to his wife of fifty-two years. As he puts it, “Companion, agent, live-in editor, bodyguard, and the dedicatee of almost all her husband’s books, Véra Nabokov, née Slonim, has reached a strange elevation in our cultural sky.”