Stuart Murdoch

Stuart Murdoch, the front man for Scottish band Belle and Sebastian, has a new book called The Celestial Café, a collection of diaries and ruminations from 2002-2006. Don’t let Murdoch’s reputation for being insufferably twee—or his disclaimer that his new volume is “very light on the subjects of drug taking, orgies and general debauchery"—dissuade you from reading. Murdoch's lyrics demonstrate a razor-sharp wit and a penchant for self-deflating satire, and is peerless at describing the everyday trials of the self-conscious, literary, and shy; we can't wait to see what he does in prose.

Tonight at the French Institute Alliance Française in New York, Bookforum co-editor Chris Lehmann is moderating a discussion between intrepid journalists from two continents. The subject is “participatory journalism,” and the panelists, Florence Aubenas and Ted Conover, know more than a little about it. Conover is best known for working at Sing Sing as a prison guard for his 2000 book Newjack (in his latest book, The Routes of Man, he undertook an even more dangerous task—riding the world’s worst roads). Aubenas became famous in 2005 when she was kidnapped while working in Iraq and held hostage for five months; for her latest book, Le quai de Ouistreham, she became a day-laborer, chronicling the precarious lives of “the people in France who are going under.”

The Nation is auctioning off kitschy cool ephemera from its history and “chances to connect with The Nation in person” (e.g. lunch with Joe Trippi), as a fundrasier for the magazine, asking “Instead of buying your loved ones holiday gifts that enrich the corporate establishment, why not share your passion for progressive journalism?” If anyone is shopping for us, we’d like the autographed copy of The Mind-Body Problem, please!

The Oxford English Dictionary substantially revamped its online edition yesterday, rolling out new features such as integrating the Historical Thesaurus to the OED, as well as a complete list of sources, which has led British newspapers to brag about their contributions to the mother tongue.

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