Jersey Shore gone Wilde.

Playbill presents Jersey Shore as written by Oscar Wilde.

This summer, Simon & Schuster, the Penguin Group, and the Hachette Book Group will become partners in a “one-stop-shopping” website called Bookish.com. The site will provide comprehensive literary coverage (including reviews, author profiles, and more) and have books for sale. (The AOL Huffington Post Media Group will help sell ads and generate traffic.) According to a story at the New York Times, the site will do for books what imdb and Netflix have done for film, and Pitchfork for music. Question: If Bookish.com is owned by three major publishers, how well will they publicize other publishers' books? And how acurately will they publicize their own titles? Discuss.

Chuck Klosterman, author of Eating the Dinosaur and other modern pop-culture classics, has agreed to write a press release for a band called Delicate Steve, but only if he doesn’t have to talk to the band or listen to the record. We found this rather funny, but others aren’t so sure.

Tonight at McNally Jackson Books, Geoff Dyer and Sam Lipsyte will discuss their work. They have a few things in common: They’re both deeply smart, have lots of personality, are artful writers. And they both contributed to Feed.com, one of the first online zines, in the nineties. But what they will talk about tonight is a mystery. And that, for us at least, is the draw.

Ethan Cohen, one of the two famed filmmakers known as the Cohen brothers, has a new book of poetry being published next year.


William T. Vollmann

This year, the Columbia Journalism School will give its prestigious award to Al Jazeera English. Says CJS dean Nicholas Lemann: “Al Jazeera English has performed a great service in bringing the English-speaking world in-depth coverage of the turmoil in the Middle East. We salute its determination to get to the heart of a complicated story unfolding in countries where news has historically been difficult to cover.”

Minnesota legislator Matt Dean apologizes for calling Neil Gaiman a “pencil-neck weasel.” Dean was moved to apologize because his mom “was very angry this morning and always taught me not to be a name caller.”

Byliner.com, a huge database devoted to long-form journalism of the past and present, is preparing to launch sometime this month. Based on authors you like, the site will direct you to other articles that might or might not interest you (you can glimpse some examples here). The site is also releasing original articles, including “Into the Forbidden Zone,” William T. Vollmann’s account of traveling into post-quake Japan’s nuclear hot zones.

“That [Osama bin Laden] was hiding in a community that had been created by the British is only one of the situation’s ironies.” Jeremy Bernstein reflects on the beauty and temperate weather of Abbotabad.

A new issue of Triple Canopy, Black Box, is devoted to online photographs, with Dan Torop’s “Tahoe Passage” presenting an artful combination of photos and quotes from Mark Twain’s Roughing It. As Twain wrote: “There is no end of wholesome medicine in such an experience.”


Neil Gaiman

During a tirade against funds given to public radio and arts programs, Minnesota House Majority Leader Matt Dean complained that American Gods author Neil Gaiman is a “pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota.” [Via Galleycat]

Laura Miller explains how a Los Angeles podiatrist sign became an inspiration to authors Jonathan Lethem and David Foster Wallace.

Elif Batuman tells you why she doesn’t read reviews of her work.

Carmela Ciuraru’s new study of pseudonyms, Nom de Plume, gets the book-trailer treatment.

Francisco Goldman on Say Her Name, his turbulent novel of mourning for his recently deceased wife: “I don’t know if God is in the details, but love is certainly in the details. I wanted to fill the book with an effusion of all of those little details of everyday life. It’s really what makes relationships . . . and to lose them is falling into a void, you can’t believe it.”

The six volume, 2,400 page pyrotechnic cooking tome Modernist Cuisine has published an extensive list of corrections that would-be chefs should probably read before baking, for example, Barbecued Eel with Whipped Caramel: “In the recipe,” one correction reads, “step two should be omitted.”


Emma Forrest

From the 2011 PEN World Voices Festival, recommended titles in six categories from the NBCC's stand-up critics.

Michiko Kakutani’s survey of books about bin Laden.

Though the Los Angeles Review of Books is still a work in progress, they are already publishing some engaging articles, including a new piece by David Shields, author of last year’s much discussed book Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. In the LARB, Shields takes on Jonathan Franzen, providing this acerbic take on Franzen’s New Yorker article about solitude and the death of David Foster Wallace: “Franzen is horrified on behalf of all of us that there’s a difference between Wallace’s persona and his actual existence. Perhaps the difference that Franzen should contemplate instead is the one between Wallace, who delved, heroically, into the darkness of his own soul, and his ‘friend’ Jonathan Franzen, whose oeuvre (and this article in particular) is devoted to fighting off any insight into himself and locating instead all shade and shadow elsewhere, out there, the next precinct over.”

The owners of independent bookstores have yet another horror to contemplate: Amazon is going to sell the Kindle at Wal-Mart.

At The Awl, blogger Maud Newton profiles Emma Forrest, whose new memoir Your Voice In My Head details her fight to stay sane after her gifted psychiatrist dies.


CNN’s Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, has signed a book deal with Crown Publishers to write the “definitive account” of the search for Osama bin Laden. Working title: Manhunt.

The Scene at this weekend's LA Times Festival of Books

From n+1: Richard Beck's report from the Ground Zero celebrations after Osama bin Laden's death was announced: "Obama got Osama! Obama got Osama!"

Former SEAL sniper Howard E. Wasdin, who was recently a member of SEAL Team Six, the special Navy unit that killed bin Laden, has a book being published in late May.

Salman Rushdie writes of bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, incredulous that the country’s security services (supposedly a US ally) did not know where the most wanted man in the world was hiding for the past five years. Rushdie says that the US should confront Pakistan and ask them tough questions: “This time the facts speak too loudly to be hushed up.”

The iPad “newspaper” The Daily has deployed high-tech drone quadricopters to get eerie footage of the damage from the recent Alabama tornado.

The LA Times Jacket Copy blog has rounded up their coverage of last weekend’s Festival of Books, reporting on a chat between Dave Eggers and Patti Smith about memoirs, a panel on The Pale King, and Jennifer Egan (who scored another award: the LA Times Book Prize) discussing “the boundries of form” with fellow authors Benjamin Hale, Olga Grushin, and Frederick Reike.

Tonight, BookCourt in Brooklyn hosts a party for the paperback release of Gary Shteyngart’s novel Super Sad True Love Story.


Believer Book Award winner James Hynes

From the New Yorker, Dexter Filkins (author of The Forever War) asks a key question about Osama bin Laden’s death: Did Pakistani officials know where bin Laden was hiding? Lawrence Wright (author of The Looming Tower) ponders al Qaeda’s future, and from the Bookforum archives, Hannah Bloch reviews Steve Coll’s biography of the bin Laden clan. Meanwhile, the New York Times published an unfortunate headline/photo combo this morning on their iPhone app.

Next by James Hynes has won this year’s Believer Book Award; the magazine has also published its list of top twenty reader favorites, a well-rounded and savvy collection of poetry and fiction.

Is it just us, or are we in the midst of a Georg Trakl revival? The German Expressionist poet (1887-1914) was an inspiration for Christian Hawkey’s fascinating recent book Ventrakl. In October, Copper Canyon Press will publish a new translation of Trakl’s work. And why not: He was, as C author Tom McCarthy points out in this video, “a drug-addict doctor during World War I who wrote amazing melancholic poetry full of images of the sun sinking into black linen and skies bleeding and rotting.”

Tonight, McSweeney’s new issue will be celebrated at a launch party at McNally Jackson Books.

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