1. Scientists have discovered linguistic signals indicating that sperm whales may refer to themselves by names when they speak. Sounds like the kind of fact Herman Melville would have been interested to hear. It also makes me think of T. S. Eliot's cats with their "ineffable, deep and inscrutable singular names".
2. Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, a tremendously popular book of philosophical poetry first published in 1923, will be adapted into a film, apparently with a series of directors contributing interpretations of separate chapters.
3. Amanda Hocking, a 26-year-old self-published writer, has had amazing success with $.99 e-books. The story of her success is inspiring other e-book authors, but often with highly questionable results. Here's more from The Next Web about the fast-growing field of indie/electronic self-publishing.
4. Isn't this what it's really all about? A photographer and her boyfriend recreate romance novel covers.
5. Marcy Dermansky reviews -- and likes -- the new film version of Jane Eyre.
6, Talk about all work and no play. Stanley Kubrick was a great filmmaker, but he must have been a bastard to work for.
7. Rediscovering The Dionysiaca of Nonnus, a little-known ancient epic poem celebrating the classical God of divine ecstasy.
8. Alberto Granado, Che Guevara's Motorcycle Diaries sidekick, has died.
9. Kathryn Valentine of the 80s new-wave band The Go-Gos is writing a heartfelt memoir on Twitter about her life as a rock star.
10. Mike Watt's new record Hyphenated-Man is about being a middle-aged rocker.
11. Eric Rosenfeld's hopeful thoughts on literature beyond categories.
12. Steve Mitchelmore explicates this quote from Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello: "Kafka stays awake during the gaps when we are sleeping.".
13. Bret Easton Ellis analyzes Charlie Sheen.
15. The really great Morning News Tournament of Books is taking place right now. I check it every morning. I think Freedom or Bad Marie (already knocked out, but not dead) should win, but I suspect Jennifer Egan's Goon Squad will take it. I haven't read this book yet, but you all know about my aversion to books that get their titles from Elvis Costello songs.
16. Did you recognize anything familiar in the image on the top of the page? After I heard that Bob Dylan's one-time girlfriend Suze Rotolo had died, I decided to visit the street where she and Bob posed for one of the most fetching album covers of all time. Here's the cover of Bob Dylan's second album, Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, from 1962.
I wanted to take a photo of the exact spot as it exists today, and I waited till late afternoon so that Jones Street, a small and humble byway in New York City's West Village, would be bathed by evening light. I'm no expert photographer, but I think I caught the light just right.
Suze Rotolo was the subject of some of Bob Dylan's best and most impassioned love songs and anger songs. One of the all-time best breakup songs of all time is his jaunty minor-key anthem "Don't Think Twice It's All Right". This song was written for Suze Rotolo, with whom Bob apparently kept breaking up and getting back together, and the words drip with sarcasm.
I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind
You could've done better but, I don't mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
but don't think twice, it's all right.
I wish there were something we could do or say
To try to make me change my mind and stay
We never did too much talking anyway
But don't think twice, it's all right.
The funny thing is that this song was on the album that featured their rosy faces on the cover. The lovely ironies of Jones Street ... which, forty years later, looks exactly like as it did in 1962.