There’s a new biography of T.S. Eliot out, and this one concentrates on the poet’s American childhood and his transition from a youthful Tom to the now-famous T.S. (just in case you needed some context for that new writer’s retreat.)
Recommended Reading: Robyn Creswell and Bernard Haykel on why jihadists write poetry.
Michiko Kakutani's generous and oddly moving review of Jay-Z's Decoded - in which she seems to find a kindred spirit - almost makes me want to take back all the mean things I've said about her. I still don't trust her judgment, but the review's worth reading just for the mental image of her in big headphones, nodding along to "Streets Is Watching." Go 'head, shorty.
The Skinny is acclaimed author Susan Orlean's strangest work, hands down: a half-serious diet book that advises women, among other things, to cover tempting food with bleach. Not one to follow her own advice, Orlean's diary of a week of eating for Grub Street features yogurt breakfasts, crackers eaten over sinks, and other basically realistic, bleach-free culinary adventures.