- Stephen Elliott, organizer of the Operation Ohio readings featuring Dave Eggers, Jonathan Ames and other writers, plans to blog about the event. In a state up for grabs by either presidential candidate, Operation Ohio is designed to drum up support for John Kerry among college students. The first reading will be held tonight at Ohio State University. (Elliott’s Looking Forward to It, a nonfiction book about the current presidential campaign, started shipping from Amazon last week.)
- Garrison Keillor will host this year’s National Book Awards ceremony.
- A.J. Jacobs read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica and wrote a memoir about it. Unfortunately, all of his royalties may go to pay off his wife. She’s “started fining him $1 for every irrelevant fact he crowbar[s] into conversation.”
- In a critique of “the cult of Ernesto Che Guevara,” Paul Berman touches on the repression of liberal dissidents in Cuba and the shutdown of Cuban libraries. (Thanks to Mr. Maud for the link.)
- A group of U.S. publishers has launched a First Amendment challenge to Treasury Department regulations against editing manuscripts from Cuba, Iran and other countries.
- The Brautigan Library is a somewhat unorthodox institution. All manuscripts housed there are unpublished and organized in categories such as “Love,” “the Future,” “Adventure,” and “All the Rest.” (Via Galleycat.)
- Depressing, and largely true: “The world of publishing is becoming so competitively commercial that there’s no room for the serious writer. And the reason journals and small literary presses are beginning to survive is that there are more and more writers.”
- H. Aram Veeser, one of my favorite City College professors, is writing a biography of Edward Said. In an article for Politics and Culture, Veeser remembers his first meeting with his former professor:
“Hi. My name is Harold Veeser and, uh, I, you are, I guess, my advisor.”
“Then you must have some little card for me to sign. Ah, yes, there it is, just give it over here. Oh, look [now delighted] your middle name is Aram. Why don’t you use it? Do you speak Armenian?” At this juncture Said put his arm around my shoulders. I was stunned.
“Well, no, a couple of words.”
“That was a piece of negligence, Aram. Why didn’t you learn it?”
“Well, my father, he’s German, so, I guess, they didn’t — you know, there wasn’t a lot of Armenian spoken.” I noticed that his chummy grasp was moving me toward the door.