1. So, apparently there’s this series of books about some wizard named Harry Potter? And the last book in the series is coming out this summer, or something? Well, the cover was revealed today: British version and U.S. version.
2. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is the newest Oprah book. So if you were waiting until it had a giant O on the cover to pick up a copy, the time has come.
3. Recently at a celebration of author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Bill Clinton let the world know that he thinks Marquez is the man, or, okay, the most important fiction writer since Faulkner.
4. Invisible Man author Ralph Ellison is the subject of a new biography, which is the subject of an article at Bookforum, which is the subject of this list item.
5. I don’t know what’s more interesting about this post on Scott Esposito’s blog: the quotation from The Atlantic’s Hawthorne review, or the comma-apostrophe kerfuffle happening in the comments. Actually I do know, but I don’t want to influence your votes. Or something.
6. National Poetry Month is coming soon! In celebration, Farrar, Straus and Giroux is launching a poetry blog, The Best Words in Their Best Order, which will run from April 1 – 30 and will feature yummy goodies such as mp3s of poets reading their work, printable posters, ringtones and other such poetry-related fun.
7. The really bad idea that was O.J. Simpson’s book, If I Did It is in the news again, this time because the rights will be auctioned off on April 17.
8. Will the Sony Reader replace printed books? Probably not, and how often do we have to worry about books being replaced by technology?
9. The article Rilke, examined takes a look at German poets Rainer Maria Rilke and Bertolt Brecht and what we can learn about fame from them. What it fails to examine is which one of them would win if they had to face each other in a cage match.
10. Do female writers lack imagination? Muriel Gray, chair of the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction (which is for work written by women) seems to think that ladies don’t make stuff up enough.
11. Category: Best News Ever — Victoria Beckham (a.k.a. Posh Spice) is starting up a book club so she and her pals Katie Holmes and J.Lo can talk about Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy. Whenever I think about what these club meetings will be like, my head starts to hurt from all the awesomeness.
12. In further Jane Austen news (yes, that Posh Spice bit totally counts as Jane Austen news), the only known painting of the author will be auctioned at Christies in New York in April. I think she looks kinda cute and sassy in this one, though apparently she’s not pretty enough, because lately it’s been necessary to tart her up to make her books more marketable. There are thousands of reasons why this is bothersome, and I could go on about it for a bit, but instead of doing that, I’m just going to ask one thing. Really? That blush makes Austen look prettier?
13. As I wrote here last fall, I am a big fan of flash fiction, especially the Hemingway story, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” The Guardian recently challenged several authors to take the six word story challenge and put up the results here. Not that anybody’s asking for my opinion, but I think Marina Lewycka’s ultra-hyphenated version counts as cheating.