Wells Tower is having himself a great week, and it stands to reason that when he’s having a good week, we’re all having one as well. After all, we get to ponder the potential of the script Tower wrote for You Shall Know Our Velocity, an upcoming film based on Dave Eggers’s novel of the same name. We also get to read Tower’s Garden & Gun piece on “the nervous work of owning – and finally loving – a Chihuahua.” And as though that wasn’t enough already, we also get to savor Tower’s gripping feature story in the latest GQ, “Who Wants to Shoot an Elephant?”
Roald Dahl’s estate has released a 1961 draft chapter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The draft reveals a number of little-known characters the author later excised from the book. It also reveals that, at one point, the story featured as many as 10 golden tickets. The Guardian has the draft chapter in full.
“When Leonard Riggio bought Barnes & Noble in 1971, it consisted of a single struggling store in Manhattan. Over time, with swagger and an unwavering belief in the value of physical bookstores, he turned it into the country’s largest bookselling chain.” Riggio, founder and executive chairman of B&N, announced yesterday that he will be stepping down in September. Let our own Janet Potter take you through a history of her love for bookstores.
Could James Baldwin be America’s greatest essayist? Ta-Nehisi Coates believes so -- at The Atlantic, he argues that The Fire Next Time shows Baldwin committing “amazing acts of intellectual and emotional courage.” (Related: Buzz Poole paid tribute to Baldwin back in 2008.)
In the nineties, when Jack Livings was teaching English in China, he was gathering material for The Dog, his short story collection that recently won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize. In an interview in the WSJ, he talks about his research process, Chinese idioms and Uighur-Han relations. You could also read Casey Walker’s syllabus for modern China. (h/t The Rumpus)
Steven Soderbergh is interested in bringing The Sot-Weed Factor – John Barth’s “750-plus-page satire of picaresque novels” – to the big, silver or computer screen. You should start getting excited about this if you’re from Maryland, interested in literature, or tickled by the word “beshit.”