Many feared the permanent loss of thousands of precious manuscripts and relics after insurgents razed Timbuktu’s Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research. The Institute was home to over 30,000 manuscripts dating back to the 13th century. Or was it? In a fascinating report, Rukmini Callimachi details the extraordinary efforts of the some passionate locals that wound up saving much of the collection.
Eliza Griswold's got a great essay up on The Poetry Foundation's website. It's about poetry and reportage in Lampedusa, the largest island in the Italian Pelagie chain.
If you're wondering why you should read this new essay on Jack London, consider this sentence: "Born in 1876, the year of Little Bighorn and Custer’s Last Stand, the prolific writer would die in the year John T. Thompson invented the submachine gun." In Smithsonian Magazine, Kenneth Brandt explores the brief life of the author.
From Letters of Note, the correspondence between Fitzgerald and his editor upon the former's completion of The Great Gatsby (including Fitzgerald's suggestion for an alternative title: Gold-hatted Gatsby). In response to the many endings of A Farewell to Arms, Slate cooks up 48 canned, alternative endings for Fitzgerald's masterpiece.
Clusty has unveiled a very cool Shakespeare search engine, allowing one to sift through all the bard's works with the push of a button.The Washington Post is hosting live lunchtime chats with various authors over the next two weeks to coincide with the 2006 National Book Festival. The highlight: Geraldine Brooks, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning The March on Thursday.Just announced: Another Hannibal book from Thomas Harris called Hannibal Rising, prompting Ed to call Harris "The Laziest Titler in the Publishing Industry."