Taylor Plimpton, the 33 year-old son of the late, legendary editor and man-about-town George Plimpton, recaptured a bit of his dad's reveling spirit last night at a party and "literary salon" celebrating Taylor's new book Notes From the Night: A Life After Dark.

Geoffrey O'Brien

The Awl offers a list of McNally Jackson's most-stolen books, which reveals that either (a) the people shoplifting book is a rapidly aging demographic or (b) young shoplifters need to improve their reading tastes.

Critic and novelist Janice Harayda lists the 5 Most Overused Put-Downs in Book Reviews.

If you're in New York tonight, you can catch a reading by Bookforum contributor Geoffrey O'Brien, who will present his new book, The Fall of the House of Walworth, a true story of patricide and madness in Gilded Age Saratoga.

Separated at birth? The cover for Eric Toussaint and Damien Millet's forthcoming book, Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank, has a lot in common with that of another, somewhat controversial offering that we'd almost forgotten about. 

Short-ficiton writer David Means, author of the new collection, The Spot, explains why he's not a novelist


Jennifer Egan

Barnes and Noble has put itself up for sale as annual profits have decreased dramatically over the past three years, from more than 135 million to about 36 million. Barnes and Noble chairman Leonard Riggio, who founded the chain in 1965 with a single store in New York City, is said to be a possible buyer, though the price is still in question. As analyst James McQuivey put it, "How do you value an asset for the future when the entire market is being essentially turned upside down?"

Bookslut blogger Jessa Crispin writes a public letter to an author who, in response to a negative review, has written the literary site a "bullying, shaming, lying, and manipulating" letter that asks Bookslut editors to revise the review. The author, alas, isn't named. Says Crispin: "If you think I'm not mentioning your name out of some sort of respect, really, it's only because I don't want any more publicity for your book than it is already receiving. I don't want your name on anyone's lips more than is absolutely necessary."

Tonight at Manhattan's 192 Books, Jennifer Egan will read from her new novel A Visit From the Goon Squad. The novel recently graced the cover of the New York Times Sunday Book Review, where Will Blythe wrote, "although shredded with loss, [the book] is often darkly, rippingly funny. Egan possesses a satirist’s eye and a romance novelist’s heart." 

And, speaking of the Times Book Review, Media Matters asked editor Sam Tanenhaus why Laura Ingraham's satirical book The Obama Diaries is listed on the non-fiction bestseller list


Brooklyn's Greenlight Bookstore

New York magazine has a feature on the city's indie bookstores, including a breakdown of sales and operating costs for Brooklyn's Greenlight Bookstore (they actually make a profit of more than $11,000 a month), a poll of some NY authors’ favorite shops (Jonathan Ames praises BookCourt for allowing him to have a knife-thrower at a recent reading), and recommended fall titles from booksellers.

Always look on the bright side of life: Tim Martin of the Telegraph, granted access to the British Library's recently acquired J. G. Ballard papers, found a cheering note in the manuscript margins of the grisly dystopian novel Crash, where Ballard wrote in all-caps: "STRESS GOOD ASPECTS."

Focusing on authors such as Lydia Davis, Tom McCarthy, and David Mitchell, The Guardian wonders if experimental fiction is "making a comeback." Meanwhile, The Independent suggests that mainstream fiction is becoming more literary

Jacket Copy blogger Carolyn Kellogg has joined the Los Angeles Times books department as a staff writer "devoted to covering news, reviews and more in the world of books." 


Brooklyn Book Festival participant Kate Christensen (Photo: Jon Lewis).

Details of next month's Brooklyn Book Festival are starting to be announced. There's a stellar lineup of authors slated to participate in the free September 12th event, including many of the borough's best authors and some national and international recruits.

Some credulous Californians are suing Apple because its ad copy says "reading on iPad is just like reading a book," but it isn't—especially if you try to read an iPad in the sun.

Internet doomsayer Nicholas Carr reports that "our hyperactive online habits are damaging the mental faculties we need to process and understand lengthy textual information." So, does grazing the web's endless fields really make us unable to digest complex texts? Studies conclude: No duh. Reading books has apparently become such an arduous task that in Texas, lawbreakers can be sentenced to read rather than go to prison—we plea for Proust without parole.

At times we've succumbed to the "gentle madness" of book collecting, but have yet to match the Auburn, California man who has amassed a collection of seven hundred versions—annotated, palm-sized, illustrated and more—of the scintillating 1840 page-turner, Two Years Before the Mast, which has been praised as "one of the eighty seminal works of historic California." We can only imagine how great the other seventy-nine are.

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