George Whitman in front of Shakesepeare & Company, circa 1980. Photo from The New York Times.

Author, columnist, and public intellectual Christopher Hitchens is dead at 62 from esophagael cancer. An archive of his Atlantic columns are available to read here, and Ian Parker's 2006 New Yorker profile of Hitch is highly recommended.

A genre within the “Best Books of the Year” genre is taking shape: the “Overlooked Books of the Year.” Two notable examples are “Great Fiction Missed by The New York Times” (from The Daily Beast) and Ruth Franklin’s “Five Books I Wish I Had Written About This Year.”

Ever wonder what the secret formula to the publishing phenomenon of Freakonomics was? Andrew Gelman and Kaiser Fung give you the low-down at American Scientist.

The Paris-based Musée des Lettres et Manuscrits has purchased one of six miniature booklets made by Charlotte Brontë when she was just 14 years old. The titanic sum of £690,850 paid by the Musée at Sotheby’s in London successfully ousted the Brontë Patronage Museum, to whom four of the six booklets already belong.

American bookseller George Whitman, acclaimed proprietor of the English-language bookshop Shakespeare & Company in Paris, has passed away at the age of 98. According to a statement on the store’s website, Mr. Whitman will be buried at the Père Lachaise cemetery, the resting place of Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, and Gertrude Stein, among others.