Enter Sandman: Neil Gaiman at PEN World Voices

There’s a certain kind of author whose cool sneaks up on one so quietly, hastily, and tardily that the only legitimate response for the (otherwise) well-read savant may be to reject this problematic writer, now the ne plus ultra of the literary set, out of hand.

If you’ve been "in" on said raconteur from their fledgling steps into the raw publishing world, it's a different tale. When one's own anointed few break out to the big time, it's like hitting the trifecta on Derby Day. "Ah, yes," you airily proclaim, "I’ve been reading Ian McEwan since The Cement Garden." ("Say what?" retorts the late-to-the-party Atonement fan.) Or "Yes, yes, I saw the NYTBR, but haven’t you read Colson Whitehead's The Intuitionist? But you must. It was clear way back when that with a quick wit like that, he’d soon be on to ever more dazzling things."

PEN World Voices: J.M.G. Le Clezio in Conversation with Adam Gopnik

(I hate to miss PEN World Voices this year, but I'm very proud to present a report by Dedi Felman, an independent publishing professional, on an event featuring our latest Nobel Laureate. As senior editor at Simon & Schuster, Dedi republished J.M.G. Le Clezio’s first novel, 'The Interrogation' -- Levi)

Rotten to the Core

1. I applaud former AIG executive Jake DeSantis for having the nerve to whine in public about having to give back his bonus. But DeSantis misses the larger point: the era of bloated multi-million dollar bonuses for financial firm executives must end -- not just temporarily, but permanently.

Tools of Change

1. It's fitting that O'Reilly's electronic book publishing technology conference Tools of Change is happening at the Marriot Marquis in swirling Times Square, still the publishing bellybutton of this city, with the New York Times toiling down the street, Conde Nast fretting across the block, Simon and Schuster, Time Inc. and Random House not far away. Well, are the smartest people in publishing here on the 6th floor at the Marriot Marquis today? Time will tell.

Angry Whopper

1. I like Burger King's weird Angry Whopper thing. As far as anthropomorphic fast food goes, this is far more interesting than, say, McDonald's Hamburgler. It also involves onion rings and I want one.

Stories To Tell

Eat the Viscera

Black Wednesday in Publishing-Land

1. It won't make the evening news, but this was a rough day of historic proportions in the book biz.

Literary Trivia Smackdown and Other Things

Umberto Eco, Salman Rushdie and Mario Vargas Llosa at PEN World Voices

"You'll notice an empty chair has been placed next to the podium on stage. This is to symbolize those writers who could not be here today due to political oppression."