If the looming election has you feeling like you might need a change of address on November 9th, you might (might) consider the United Arab Emirates. Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, has implemented a groundbreaking initiative which requires government employers to give workers an allotment of free time for reading. Sheikh Mohammed had this to say to novelist Paulo Coelho’s praise of the initiative, “Did you know, Paulo, that in the 9th century, our region had over 100 publishing houses on the outskirts of Baghdad alone? … When its life was centered on books, Baghdad was, my friend, a beacon in the worlds of astronomy, medicine, mathematics and philosophy. Where is Baghdad today?””
Some of Jeff Tweedy‘s favorite writers: “I like Henry Miller a lot. I like William H. Gass a lot. Donald Barthelme, Robert Coover, Kurt Vonnegut. . . . I used to walk into bookstores when I was a kid and get the stuff that looked the craziest and the most free.” (In a Rolling Stone interview, unavailable online.)
Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice is going to have one heck of a star-studded cast. Among the names attached to the production thus far are Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Martin Short and Sean Penn. The film is tentatively scheduled for a 2014 release. (Bonus: Take a sneak peek at Pynchon’s forthcoming novel, Bleeding Edge.)
South Florida readers! Assuming you’re done voting by now, you should make next week’s Miami Book Fair International a priority. Afterward, you can go celebrate thirty years of Books & Books, the jewel of Coral Gables. (And perhaps to warm up for it all, you can read my review of Tom Wolfe’s Back to Blood.)
Last week, I pointed readers to a speech by the late James Salter, reprinted by The Paris Review Daily in tribute to the writer after his death. For a fan appreciation, you can read Kevin Lincoln in Hazlitt, who leads his piece with the observation that Salter “wrote sentences you could unfold into paper lanterns.” Pair with our own Sonya Chung’s review of Salter’s All That Is.
Amidst the tragic news that Iain Banks has cancer, The Telegraph responds with a headline for the ages: “Iain Banks taught me that books can be a hand grenade“