1. Now this is a good idea. I've said this before and I'll keep saying it: readers are ready for e-books, but we don't want to buy puffed-up $400 Kindles or $300 Sony Readers. We want to read e-books on the devices that are already in our pockets: iPhones, Blackberrys, high-end full-screen cell phones. This is the way e-books will succeed in the marketplace.
It would take more number-crunching than I'm willing to do on a Sunday to prove this, but I'm pretty sure the New York Times Book Review has been publishing more front-page rave reviews of breakout novels by unknown authors in the past couple of years than usual. I'm not talking about good reviews -- I'm talking about those rare moments where you can just see the blush in the amazed critic's cheek.
A lunchtime PEN World Voices panel with global journalist Ian Buruma, Burmese author Thant Myint-U and Words Without Borders editor Dedi Felman today offered a look at the modern history and current politics of Burma, the Southeast Asian nation that all three panelists agreed was little understood around the world. I arrived at this panel discussion knowing almost nothing of this nation's culture and society (and not for lack of interest), so I believe they're right.
At one of the kickoff events for New York City's PEN World Voices festival,actress Mia Farrow, critic Bernard-Henri Levy and novelist Dinaw Mengestu met tonight at the Alliance Francais to discuss the ongoing genocidal situation in Darfur, which has gotten no better after five years of worldwide apathy.
1. Keith Olbermann of MSNBC is my favorite TV news reporter, not just because he was among the first newscasters to bravely speak the bitter truth about the incredible ineptitude of our current national leadership, but also because he always delivers his strong words with such a likable smile.