It’s that time of year again, readers. It’s time to stock up on gossip, skim through pieces on your favorite writers and populate your bookmarks with pages from Ladbrokes and Intrade. It’s time, in other words, to prognosticate the Nobel Prize winner, which Ladbrokes predicts will be the novelist Haruki Murakami. If you read Ben Dooley’s review of 1Q84, you might have placed your bets already.
Waterboro Library in Maine has compiled a list of books about "Drowned Towns," - "Mysteries and other fiction with a featured element of intentional submerging, inundating, and flooding of towns, villages, cities, and other places as a consequence of building dams and reservoirs for water supply, hydroelectric power, irrigation, flood management, and job creation." Also known as "Reservoir Noir."Rare art by Calvin & Hobbes creator Bill Watterson (via)AICN Books offers early looks at The Road by Cormac McCarthy and A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon.The Written Nerd looks at the ethics of "street dates," the "do not sell before this date, or else!" restrictions that come with blockbuster books.The IHT looks at Gunter Grass' new memoir, roughly translated as Peeling the Onion. Earlier this month Grass told the world that the book would reveal that he had been a member of the Waffen SS during World War II. Word has it, the book is unlikely to appear in the US any time soon.Google now lets you add a Book Search widget to your Web pages. The search engine giant has also announced that it will start making public domain books available in PDF form. Here's an example.YPTR, in amusing fashion, takes up the question of DFW and whether he will produce a novel again.
Recommended Reading: Jenny Diski on our lost words. “So I had a thought about writing a book for the elderly, the old. Those who have lost their words more comprehensively than the friends around our lunch table, but haven’t lost themselves entirely. A book about where all the words go, where after a time they find the others and collaborate to make sentences.”
“I would have been an abject failure in a writing program. I am not unteachable, but I am probably the only person who can teach myself. I don’t learn extremely well, formally. I wouldn’t even consider myself a very good reader. Maybe a slightly above average reader.” At The Morning News, Robert Birnbaum sits down with Charles Yu.
Chekhov never published an autobiography, but he did once write a letter in which, in Chekhovian fashion, he summed up his life in a paragraph. At The Paris Review Daily, you can read the Constance Garnett translation of this letter in full. You could also check out Brendan Mathews on reading Chekhov for self-improvement.
“By running two lives that started from the same point off along divergent tracks, they throw up questions about our uniqueness, and the chances and choices that make us who we are.” On identical twins in literature, from Stephen King to Shakespeare. Also check out Ramona Ausubel’s essay on first children and first novels.
James Joyce inspires a lot of English papers but not songs. Yet musician Casey Black based his song "Happiness" off of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. With lyrics like, "So I walk the Dublin streets like they were passageways through my soul," we think Joyce would approve.