George Eliot's portable writing desk

A Wikipedia entry suggests that someone knew about Petraeus's affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, as early as January 2012.

The best kind of bad sex is the kind you only have to read about. (And can laugh at without offending anybody). With that in mind, everybody should be excited about the Literary Review of London’s annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award. Eight finalists for the 2012 award were announced on Tuesday, with J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy noticeably absent, despite its use of phrases like “miraculously unguarded vagina.” Writers who did make the list include Ben Masters, Nancy Huston, Sam Mills, Paul Mason, and Tom Wolfe, whose Back to Blood (which Eric Benson reviewed for Bookforum.com) is full of groaners.

For more on the Bad Sex awards, Literary Review editor Jonathan Beckman explains what it’s like to read passage after passage of terrible sex writing in order to “draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description...”

How many writers can you fit in a Brooklyn coffee shop? For his first feature film, A Short History of Decay, writer and filmmaker Michael Maren rounded up 43, from Jennifer Egan to Kurt Andersen to Phillip Gourevitch. The group assembled at a cafe in Park Slope (some arrived as early as 4 am) to participate in a sight gag. In the scene, Marren’s protagonist is hoping to ease the pain of losing his girlfriend to a literary agent, but can’t find a seat at the cafe—because all are occupied by snarky-looking Brooklyn writers.

Elizabeth Smart, the 14-year-old who was kidnapped from her home in Salt Lake City and discovered with a strange couple nine months later, will write a memoir about her experience. The book will be published by St. Martin’s Press, and is scheduled to come out in September next year.

George Eliot’s portable, papier mache writing desk has been stolen from the Nuneaton museum in England.

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