The Book Barge, via Flickr

After railing against Twitter in the New York Times Magazine, Bill Keller expands his beef with the written word in a new column titled “Let’s Ban Books, or At Least Stop Writing Them.” The gist: too many reporters are taking leave to write books, and Keller’s own failed attempts at book-writing haven’t endeared him to the practice: “Book-writing is agony—slow, lonely, frustrating work that, unless you are a very rare exception, gets a lukewarm review (if any), reaches a few thousand people and lands on a remaindered shelf at Barnes & Noble.” Let the Twitter wars begin.

In honor of Snooki’s landing another book deal, Anderson Cooper does a dramatic reading of her first novel, A Shore Thing.

The New York Times says it will pay back a $250 million loan from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim (his real name) by August 15—three and a half years ahead of schedule.

Taking a page from Calvino, The Guardian is enamoured with the Book Barge, a floating bookstore located (for now) in Staffordshire, England.

How do you make your kid a writer? “First of all, let her be bored. Let her have long afternoons with absolutely nothing to do... Let her get a job. Let her work long hours for crappy pay with a mean employer and rude customers. If she wants to be a writer, she'll have to be comfortable with hard work and low pay.” [Via Ta-Nehisi Coates]

We're looking forward to the launch of Girl Crush Zine, a ladies-only online mag featuring a stellar list of contributors.

McSweeney’s debuts its food magazine, Lucky Peach, which features essays by chefs Anthony Bourdain and David Chang, recipes by Wylie Dufresne and Mario Carbone, and art by Tony Millionaire and Scott Teplin. The first issue is dedicated to Ramen, staple of the collegiate food pyramid.

The New York Times’s Ravi Somaiya is tweeting from Julian Assange’s trial in London: “Just got—and I am not making this up—a really strong whiff of gin in #Assangecourtroom. Unmistakeable.” For background on the case, check out Ken Silverstein's Bookforum essay on WikiLeaks as literature.

At, novelists are invited to share stats about their failed attempts at fiction. (Misery, after all, loves company.) Thomas Baines wrote more than twenty-nine thousands words of a sci-fi novel before running out of ideas; Farida Samerkhanova got over fifty pages in to a manuscript before switching to flash fiction. “The unfinished nature of this novel is not failure but rather a kind of catharsis,” explains one author, “at least that is what I keep telling myself.” [Via MobyLives].

The University of Iowa is offering a full, $37,000 scholarship to the prospective student who composes the best 140-character tweet.