1. I'm very excited to be competing with a team of litbloggers in a Literary Trivia Smackdown against four honorable representatives of PEN America this Sunday at 4 pm at the 21st Annual Indie Press and Small Books Fair in New York City. The other members of the Litblog team are Ed Champion, Sarah Weinman and Eric Rosenfeld.
Ed, Sarah, Eric and I are competing this year as a result of a challenge we offered to MC and host Tim Brown after watching the New York Review of Books beat A Public Space in last year's contest. Brown accepted our challenge in sporting spirit, though apparently the New York Review of Books ran when they saw us coming. We are looking forward to challenging our worthy fellow lovers of literature at PEN to see who takes the title for 2008. The subject, I understand, is "American Literature". Please come to cheer us on if you can! Other worthwhile events at this weekend-long Indie and Small Press Book Fair include Lizzie Skurnick interviewing Kelly Link and a conversation between Arthur Nersesian and Kate Christensen.
2. It's nice to be noticed sometimes, like when you get included on a list of ten best literary blogs by David Gutowski. Hey, everybody else on the list posted about it too, so why shouldn't I? Other good literary blogs that should be on any list (ten just isn't enough): Conversational Reading, Jacket Copy.
3. "The point of terror is both to terrify and to polarize". Mainly, to polarize, and it works way too well. Look at pictures like these from Boston.com and it's hard not to get polarized.
4. From the ridiculous to the sublime, here's a charming new cover of Wind in the Willows, drawn by a 12-year-old kid. Nice.
5. The Book Design Review's Favorite Book Covers of 2008.
6. Stephen Fry on Oscar Wilde, the meaning of imagination, Anton Chekhov.
7. A very thorough Thoreau site, though they missed me. Doesn't everybody.
8. I have mixed feelings about Kanye West's new album 808s and Heartbreak. It's his first "sad" album -- his Plastic Ono Band, his Street-Legal, his Berlin. But while these albums are all masterpieces, Kanye's mournful new work feels more frustrating on first listen. Where's the humor? Where's the kick? I respect Kanye West's artistry so much, though, that I will give this album at least ten full listens before I complete my judgement. I'm on listen #5 for Axl Rose.