The first day of spring is tomorrow. Ho, ho. That's rich. Spring? I freaking doubt it. I'm about to change my name to Nanook of the North and go forage for berries or whatever cause this is the arctic.
Philip Roth turned eighty yesterday. Here is a very moving birthday tribute by the New Yorker's David Remnick.
This interview with George Saunders by Barnstorm pal Josh Lieberman contains a surprising number of Fleetwood Mac references. And is totally funny and great, of course. This might be my favorite exchange: Q: I loved that bit so much. The fact that it's not “to look at the cows,” but one cow. Kids going to see farm animals is fun; kids going to see one cow is sad. (And how bleak: tonight that one cow isn't even around!) Those are the sort of tiny, semi-invisible gears of a short story that, for me, elevate a story from being merely good to totally great. I don't have an actual question. A. That's good, because I have no answers re. that cow.
A beautiful photo essay of Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, a bookstore frequented by the likes of Hemingway, Joyce, Ford Maddox Ford, and your racist old grandpa Ezra Pound.
Chicago area schools banned Marjane Satrapi's really pretty tame graphic novel Persepolis, causing a spike in sales and local teenagers to dance rebelliously to a Kenny Loggins song. Teens to Chicago school board: You could fly if you'd only cut loose.
This isn't really about books or anything, but Christoph Niemann designed an app called Petting Zoo, and the story of it is charming and delightful. [New Yorker blog]
BBC is selling the Lonely Planet series to a reclusive Nashville billionaire.
Dark Sorceress Joyce Carol Oates has written another book. Jeez, took her long enough. She hasn't written a new one in literally minutes. In a review for the Times, Stephen King calls it "the world's first postmodern Gothic novel: E.L. Doctorow's ”˜Ragtime' set in Dracula's castle."
See you in "spring." Nanook out.