1. Austin the writer got voted off Survivor. He was the first writer on any Survivor cast, although his one self-published novel looks kind of corny. However, Austin turned out to be a capable player and a likable guy. For a so-called writer, though, he didn’t use many big words, and I don’t remember hearing any James Joyce or Sylvia Plath quotes around the campfire. But Austin Carty played hard to make all us writers of the world proud, and I may even wander over to Amazon and order his book.
2. A new American political action committee called LitPAC has been announced (noted via ElegVar). Participating writers who will help to raise funds for “progressive candidates” include Mary Gaitskill, Rick Moody, Jonathan Ames, Adrienne Miller, Aimee Bender, Pam Houston, Jim Shepard, Po Bronson, Jane Smiley, Tobias Wolff, Dave Eggers, Lemony Snicket, Anthony Swofford, and ZZ Packer. No word yet on whether Austin Carty has been invited. But seriously: we like. A lot. Here’s their blog.
3. Here’s a fascinating article from Baltimore Sun about some newly-unearthed reel-to-reel tapes of Anne Sexton’s last poetry reading three days before her suicide (via Bookslut). Sexton was a highly original and powerful poet, and it’s a disturbing experience to glance so closely at the last three days of her life.
4. Some don’t like it that Alice Quinn and Farrar, Straus and Giroux published a new edition of Elizabeth Bishop’s unpublished poetry, apparently against the late poet’s wishes. We see both sides of the debate, but ultimately we are glad the book was published. There’s no perfect answer here, but if we’re going to err let’s err by opening doors too wide instead of closing them too tight. Past examples make this a necessary decision — The Castle is Kafka’s best work, after all (he’d asked that it be burned), and Long Day’s Journey Into Night is Eugene O’Neill’s most popular play (he’d asked that it never be performed).
5. How does the new Sony Reader measure up? Well, the dimensions (7 x 5 inches, 9 ounces) sound pretty good. But the $299 price tag won’t fly. Back to the lab, guys. (Hint: figure out how to do music and video and books in a single device, because nobody wants more crap to lug around, and it really shouldn’t be such a tremendous engineering challenge to pull this off. We have the technology. Use XML or something.)
6. Choose your own adventure. We all do, you know.