• “The Handmaid’s Tale, a 1986 satire by the Canadian author Margaret Atwood, is one of the top 10 novels that transformed women’s lives according to a poll by Woman’s Hour listeners on [BBC] Radio 4.”
  • Major Japanese publishers have embraced “telephone reading material” (particularly after a novel earlier this year “jumped from phone screens to the silver screen, evolving into a feature film”), and some European publishers are joining in. The U.S. book industry is watching from the sidelines.
  • Alan Cowell talks with Ian McEwan, whose new novel, Saturday, will appear Stateside in March of next year.
  • Novelist Alasdair Gray’s ceiling murals adorn the ceiling of a former church turned trendy Glasgow restaurant and bar:

    Weird celestial beings inhabit a rich blue and rainbow-covered sky. God can just be seen floating up into the eaves. The day I was there Gray was hard at work painting a mural of two lions playing bagpipes at the entrance. [The restaurant’s designer] says Gray is a popular figure with the workmen. “They gave him a gold hard hat which he used to wear from his house to here.”

  • J. David Santen, Jr., finds the draft he produced during National Novel Writing Month largely unsatisfactory, but notes that Vendela Vida tries to produce a full draft each year under virtually the same circumstances. Has anybody told the Old Hag?

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