1. Billy Joel had a contract to write a memoir, but got cold feet. Too bad. We know this Long Island boy can write, and I bet he had some stories to tell. The alleged book (my personal guess is that he never began it, though the cover artwork was finished and released) was supposed to have been called The Book of Joel.
2. You know I’ve been wanting to read this Long Island boy’s life story. Jay-Z’s recent semi-memoir Decoded had its moments, but Jay hardly dug deep. Good hiphop memoirs or biographies are rare, but I eagerly snapped up Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office, a new unauthorized biography by business writer Zack O’Malley Greenburg, who has covered hip-hop culture and money for Forbes magazine. I suppose it works as a business book, but I found it very disappointing. This white boy, unfortunately, does not know hiphop. The author also seems to think Jay-Z’s best years must be right now (naturally, because this is when he’s making the most money) which proves, once again, that he doesn’t know anything about hiphop.
3. Excellent poetry blogger Ron Silliman ponders whether or not to quit the game: “What was once the newest thing on the block has by now become normative, even predictable.” I sometimes start to feel this way about Litkicks, but I keep things interesting around here by changing the rules for myself. Like, “write only about philosophy on weekends”. Seems to keep me sticking around.
5. Yes, social networking is literature. You can turn your Facebook page into a book, and why not? Here’s what Facebook has in common with literature: they’re both in the memory business.
6. From the Rumpus, how to deal with book-deal jealousy.
7. Sarah Weinman presents You Can’t Be a Good Literary Critic Unless You ….
8. Lars Ulrich of Metallica will play a role in a new HBO film about Ernest Hemingway. I like this idea.
10. One more on rock memoirs, I’ve really been digging Kathy Valentine’s twitter memoir of her years with the Go-Gos and beyond. Her observations are piquant, her stories honest and personal. The fact that folks like Bob Dylan and Clem “Elvis Ramone” Burke make appearances doesn’t hurt. Valentine seems to be keeping the twitter feed under wraps for now (you have to ask nicely to follow it, and read it backwards) but I hope she publishes or self-publishes it in book form — forwards — once it’s done. Anyway, brava so far.
11. Really, we’re all just in the memory business.