Could this be the start of a trend? HarperCollins paid the singer Billy Joel $3 million for a memoir back in 2008. Joel wrote The Book of Joel, the publisher edited it, and a June publication date was set. Last week, however, Joel abruptly backed out of the deal and apparently will return the portion of the advance he's been paid. His reason? He told the Associated Press he "was not all that interested in talking about the past."
“The past fascinates me obsessively, I suppose, because it’s such a strange phenomenon. The past was the present at some point, and it was just as boring as the present. What makes it so important? What gives it that luminous, exalted quality where it becomes the past?” John Banville addresses these and many other heady questions in his new novel, The Blue Guitar.
Those of you who stopped watching The Simpsons thirteen years ago (and heard that the voice actress who plays Edna Krabappel sadly passed away in October) should know that Ms. Krabappel is now married to Ned Flanders. In a run-down over at Splitsider, Bradford Evans catalogues weird plot developments in the last decade-plus of the series. (h/t Slate)
"Marx the anti-Communist is an unfamiliar figure; but there were undoubtedly times when he shared the view of the liberals of his day and later, in which communism (assuming anything like it could be achieved) would be detrimental to human progress." Wait, what? The New York Review of Books reviews Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life.