Deborah Baker

An article in Prospect argues that more bad reviews would result in better books.

The good news: the New Yorker is putting out a special issue this week, featuring a decade’s worth of highlights from its “Talk of the Town” column. The bad news: Subscribers won’t receive this issue in the mail. Also: Every single ad in the issue is for shows broadcast on the USA network.

The Rumpus online book club recently invited author Deborah Baker to discuss her new book, The Convert, a biography of Maryam Jameelah. Jameelah left America in the late 60s and moved to Pakistan, where she wrote bold books about the emptiness of Western life.

Herman Melville was apparently a bit self-conscious of his height when he filled out his passport application in 1856.

Kobo has announced a new paperback-sized touch e-reader.

When we heard that Michael Azerrad’s great book Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 was celebrating its tenth anniversary with a show of contemporary bands covering classic songs from the DIY era, we thought that perhaps the music would be lost in translation—yet another fruitless nostalgia trip. But then we saw a video of St. Vincent playing the Big Black song “Kerosene” this weekend, proving that furious expressions of angst and anger can be timeless.

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