Message In A Bottle

1. Something got into me and I live-blogged George Bush’s televised State of the Union speech last night on my “other blog”. I should probably never try this again, but I tried it and the sorry results are there for all to see.

2. This is amazing. Literary blogger and hopeful bookstore entrepeneur Jessica Stockton Bagnulo submitted a business plan for a Brooklyn bookstore in a competition and won. The amount of the award is enough to give her plan some serious wings, so this is major news.

3. Author Michael Swanwickis selling a short story as a message in a bottle. You can either break the objet d’art and read the story, or keep the object and never know what story you bought. I think this is cool, and I suspect Jorge Luis Borges would have liked it too.

4. Michael Pollan’s writing cabin (via Bud).

5. Dovegreyreader praises Aharon Megged’s The Flying Camel and the Golden Hump, about a writer who discovers that a famous and vicious literary critic is living in his apartment building, one floor above. Now that’s a metaphor a writer can run with.

6. Ian McEwan, librettist (via Scott).

7. Columbia Spectator’s The Fifty States of Literature will attempt to cite the best or most characteristic book for each state, which is not a bad concept for a series. When I read on Literary Saloon that the first state would be Alabama, I said to myself “To Kill A Mockingbird“, and I was right. I wonder what book they’ll name for my state? I’m guessing New York will be represented by The Great Gatsby.

8. Books That Make You Dumb (via Bookslut) is a more worthwhile exercise than the title indicates.

9. Here’s something that’s not dumb: Toni Morrison’s hopeful letter to Barack Obama. I guess I’m drawn to the Obama bandwagon lately myself.

15 Responses

  1. That’s right, Stevadore,
    That’s right, Stevadore, though so little of the action takes place there. How about “Paterson” by William Carlos Williams, or something by Philip Roth?

  2. Aw, you guys make me and my
    Aw, you guys make me and my little home state feel so much less tacky by so easily zeroing in on “quality” lit. I was worried that some might think Janet Evanovich or “Clockers” when it comes to us and novels.

  3. I’d like to hope that we
    I’d like to hope that we Californians will get some Raymond Chandler, but I have a horrible feeling it’ll inevitably be “Play It As It Lays,” which defines Los Angeles about as well as “Hamlet” defines Denmark.

    Though it could easily be Steinbeck too, and I suppose I’d be okay with that…

  4. Milton, I bet California will
    Milton, I bet California will be John Steinbeck all the way. “Grapes of Wrath” or somesuch. Then again, they could give “Grapes of Wrath” to Oklahoma. Hmmm …

  5. I would put money on
    I would put money on Steinbeck for California. I happen to be reading The Log From The Sea Of Cortez right now and amazingly Steinbeck predicted how ‘time’ will shrink on an individual level, that people will have less and less personal time to do the things they want to, rather than the things they need to. And this was circa 1951!

  6. I hope Illinois is
    I hope Illinois is represented by Nelson Algren, if he hasn’t been forgotten. The picture of Simone de Beauvoir’s derriere that you had a link to a while ago was taken by Chicago photog Art Shay in Algren’s appartment, back when Nelson and Simone were an item.

  7. On another note, I highly
    On another note, I highly recommend reading the letter to Barack Obama from Toni Morrison! We voted in Florida yesterday, and I almost went for Hillary Clinton because I like Bill Clinton so much, but you know what? Obama seems more energetic and ready for the future. I voted for him.

  8. Dear old James A. Michener
    Dear old James A. Michener can cover Alaska, Hawaii, Texas, and maybe a few other states, travel being his specialty.

    I have to think about how this state-representative book concept would apply to Canada…Suggestions, anyone…?

  9. Oh, Bill, you know that
    Oh, Bill, you know that tramps like us were born to run.

    They came up with their pick for Michigan today and I’m already over the whole idea. Although I loved “The Virgin Suicides,” Michigan doesn’t make me think of a bunch of dead girls stifled by suburbia. Is there no novel evoking Motown or automobiles or the lake and its wilds?

  10. The book experiment was
    The book experiment was interesting, I was disappointed not to see House of Leaves numbering the selection, and cringing at multiple Dan Brown sightings.

    If the Lit by state is open to poetry as well I’d nominate Carl Sandburg for my own state of Illinois; perhaps a two in one of The People, Yes and Honey & Salt.

    Barack absolutely has my vote. It helps that he’s got a solid financial plan, doesn’t want to make tax cuts permanent, and has been unshakable in his thoughts on the war in Iraq; but it really comes down to (most selfishly, I’ll admit) his 4,000$ tax cut for college students.

  11. I beg to differ with Bill. I
    I beg to differ with Bill. I was PROUD to vote for Hillary Clinton in Tennessee early voting.
    A friend of mine voted for Edwards. Obama seems, to both of us, as being too idealistic and he has very little experience in the national and international scene. All the way with “Billary”!

    Oh, and Dubya’s speech seemed like an instant replay full of lame partisanship and saber rattling. Who cares if we have a time table to get out of Iraq? It is time the Iraqis took more responsibility for their own affairs.
    Besides, we have Afghanistan to fight the good fight in. That seems enough on our collective plate… Not to mention the turmoil in Pakistan.

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