1. PEN World Voices, easily the best ongoing literary festival in New York City, will take place from April 29 to May 4 this year. Writers I’m particularly interested in seeing include, alphabetically: Andre Aciman, Charles Baxter, Andy Borowitz, Ian Baruma, Peter Carey, Stacey D’Erasmo, Umberto Eco, Jennifer Egan, Deborah Eisenberg, Asli Erdogan, Peter Esterhazy, Jeffrey Eugenides, John Giorno, Arnon Grunberg, John Wesley Harding, Alexsandar Hemon, A. M. Homes, Uzodinma Iweala, Elias Khoury, Bernard Henri-Levy, Janet Malcolm, Colum McCann, Ian McEwan, Catherine Millet, Rick Moody, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Ondaatje, Dale Peck, Steven Pinker, Annie Proulx, Salman Rushdie, Mario Vargas Llosa and Eliot Weinberger. Well, these are my choices among the writers I’ve heard of, but the real benefit of an international event like this is that I’ll discover writers I’ve never heard of.
2. Ahh, the world. I’ve been following the news from Tibet, where they just can’t take the Big Lie anymore. And here in the USA, John McCain thinks he can run our foreign policy even though he doesn’t know the basics of who’s who in the Middle East. A slip-up? I don’t think so. He said the same thing several times in recent weeks. Ignorance is bliss, yet again.
3. “Tree of Human Smoke”. I just thought of that. There must be a good joke here somewhere, but I haven’t come up with it yet.