1. When I was 14 and a freshman in high school, we did a production of The Music Man. Before auditions I watched the movie and decided I wanted the part of Eulalie McKecknie Shinn, the mayor’s wife, mainly because there’s a musical number, “Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little” in which the ladies of the town go off on indecent literature, and there’s the famous refrain, “Chaucer! Rabelais! BaaaaalZAC!” and the one who got to bellow “BaaaaalZAC!” was the mayor’s wife. Plus she got to wear great hats. I didn’t get that part, and was instead stuck being Ethel Toffelmier, and therefore only got to exclaim “Rabelais!” yet over the years I have managed to recover from the disappointment. I’m not really sure why I’m telling you all of this, except to say that back then I didn’t know who any of those writers were, but now I do. And here’s a really interesting article about the man behind the name I never got to bellow onstage: Honore de Balzac.
2. Steve Martin’s memoir, Born Standing Up has recently been released in paperback. He gives a short reading and talks to NPR about the book and his work here.
3. On the 30th anniversary of his classic The Stand, Stephen King talks with Salon about the book, and about politics and religion.
7. Richard Powers has his entire genome sequenced. It’s a fascinating article. I know this because I read all 21 pages.
8. This article has been around for a few weeks: Emily Dickinson’s Secret Lover! Does it speak to the age-old conundrum of just not wanting to know too much about writers’ lives?
9. The Bunny Suicides riles parents.
10. English, my beloved English. I liked this article already, and then I read the last paragraph about The Wire (which I am slowly catching up with on DVD) and then I had a crush on it. Is it possible to have a crush on an article? Let’s say yes. (I really dig The Wire; it is so insanely well-written that it hurts.) Of course, the article is not about The Wire, it’s about English. But like the article’s writer, I think English and The Wire dovetail most wonderfully. I’ll stop being a TV geek now.