There’s just six hours left to bid on a remixed version of Keith Gessen’s All the Sad Young Literary Men over on ebay. This special version comes courtesy of Gawker, where writer Hamilton Nolan complained that Gessen talked about Harvard way too much in his book. After a bit of back and forth, Gessen agreed to personally cross out every instance of “Harvard” (as well as any references to Harvard-related things that would no longer make sense, such as dorm names or names of local bars) in Nolan’s copy of the book and replace it with a college of his choosing. Nolan chose Florida State University, and Gessen happily complied. The bidding’s up to more than $700 and the proceeds go to the New York Coalition for the Homeless.
I wonder if we could do this with some of our Harper Perennial books. Think of the possibilities: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union could become The Pig Latin Policemen’s Union. A mash-up of Arrested Development and The Summer of Naked Swim Parties called The Summer of Never-Nude Swim Parties, where every instance of full-on nudity is replaced with jean shorts. A version of We Disappear where, instead of being addicted to meth, the main character is constantly jonesing for broccoli. Any other ideas?
CK called our attention to Contrariwise, a website that features “tattoos from books, poetry, music, and other sources.” It’s mostly weird fonts and Kurt Vonnegut, Sylvia Plath, and The Little Prince, but there are a few gems in there. I just hope all of these people are clear on the meanings behind the passages they’ve chosen, or they might end up like a co-worker who, upon a visit to China, learned that her Chinese character tattoo meant something very different than what she thought. Luckily my own tattoo is a symbol, and I’m pretty clear on its meaning, although someone once asked me if it was an octopus (it’s not).
If you’re heading out to Greenpoint tonight to see/hear Willy Vlautin and Ross Raisin (authors of Northline and Out Backwards, respectively) at Word Books, you might get hungry afterwards. Here are some establishments that I, as a resident of Greenpoint, have personally tested, all within a five-minute walk of Word:
68: Quiet, classy, not too expensive. I recommend the spicy penne with tomato cream sauce. (Greenpoint Ave between Franklin and West)
Pio Pio Riko: There’s no website that I can find, but they don’t need one. The best rotisserie chicken, rice, and beans you’ll ever have, and it’s dirt cheap. (Manhattan Ave at the corner of Huron st)
Corner Frenzy: Also with no official website. Yes, Corner Frenzy is otherwise known as the M&W Laundromat. But they have 24 flavors of soft serve ice cream, as well as slushies, hot dogs, and various other items. On a hot night there’s nothing like Corner Frenzy. (across the street from Pio Pio Riko at Manhattan and Huron)
Just heard about a great site called Rumplo. It’s a t-shirt aggregator, gathering all the most awesome t-shirts for sale on the internet in one place. After you view a shirt, you can click through to buy it on its hosted site (threadless, etsy, etc.). The literary shirt at left is available here, but might I also suggest Mack Hated Mondays or Knives?
SF author, critic, and poet Thomas M. Disch, born 1940, died July 4, 2008, of suicide in his New York City apartment. Ellen Datlow reports that Disch had been depressed for several years, especially by the death of long-time partner Charles Naylor, and worries of eviction from his rent-controlled apartment.
Disch wrote the story: “The Brave Little Toaster: A Bedtime Story for Small Appliances” which later became one of my all-time favorite films. I am completely serious. If you haven’t seen The Brave Little Toaster, may I recommend renting it immediately.
Photo of Toaster comforting Blankie… makes me cry everytime.
According to the New York Observer, Random House will soon publish a posthumous short story collection from William Styron, featuring some never-before-published work. His agent says the stories are mostly about soldiers returning home from war, a truly relevant topic also tackled recently in the movie Stop-Loss and in an especially searing episode of Intervention, my favorite show.
There’s also a great essay about William Styron by his daughter Alexandra in the new book Brooklyn Was Mine, an anthology of essays about (duh) Brooklyn.
Jhumpa Lahiri has won the Frank O’Connor award, the world’s richest award for a short story collection, for Unaccustomed Earth. In an unusual move, the judges declined to name a shortlist and just went straight from the longlist to naming her the winner. According to the Guardian, the award’s director, Pat Cotter, said that “no other title was a serious contender.” If I were on that longlist (which includes Anne Enright, Roddy Doyle, Jim Shepard, and Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff, which has been on my own to-be-read list for a while), I might feel a little insulted.
Then again, the point of the award is to call attention to short story collections, and this move has certainly done that. I’m a huge fan of short stories, and I don’t think they get nearly enough attention. One of my favorites is Harper Perennial’s own Twenty Grand, which you can check out below.
Amid the normal reports of books signed this morning in Publishers Lunch was a tantalizing mention of Cookin’ with Coolio. Yes, that’s right, Coolio, of “Fantastic Voyage” and “Gangsta’s Paradise” fame, is coming out with a cookbook. It seemed totally bizarre to me, but little did I know that Coolio has his own Internet cooking show on MyDamnChannel, and it’s pretty hilarious. The recipes are also easy enough that even a terrible cook like me could probably get them right. Good for you, Coolio.