NBCC award fiction finalist Teju Cole.

For his next project, Bret Easton Ellis is tapping into the lewder side of Hollywood. The American Psycho author is casting boy-next-door porn star James Deen as the lead of his “micro-budget noir movie,” titled The Canyons.

J. Hoberman, recently laid off by the Village Voice, has become a columnist at Tablet.

At Flavorwire, novelist Adam Wilson—author of the bleak suburban comedy Flatscreen—picks the top ten slacker novels, including Iris Owen’s After Claude, Sam Lipsyte’s Home Land, and the New Testament. In Wilson’s view, Jesus was not just a fictional character but also the first literary slacker: “He drank a lot of wine and never wore pants; he was into holistic healing; he could be preachy and moralistic, but was a good guy deep down. And to think they strung him up for it. Society’s attitude toward slackers hasn’t softened much.”

In Time’s Ideas section, Bookforum contributor Jessica Winter asks: “Are Women People?”

The Morning News is prepping for its eighth annual Tournament of Books with a pre-game primer. The literary bloodsport kicks off tomorrow, when author Emma Straub will deliberate the first bracket: Julian Barnes’s Sense of an Ending vs. Donald Ray Pollock’s The Devil All the Time.

The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik dwells on “what makes a great essayist,” and names five masters of the form.

The National Book Critics Circle’s annual awards will be announced tonight in New York; all month NBCC board members have been writing about the thirty finalists. A few highlights: David Haglund on Teju Cole’s Open City; David Ulin on Dana Spiotta’s Stone Arabia; and Benjamin Moser on Amanda Foreman’s A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War. Bookforum recently hosted a roundtable about one of the finalists in nonfiction, the late Ellen Willis, who is being nominated for her posthumously published collection of music criticism, Out of the Vinyl Deeps.

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