The Awl asks writers and critics which cringeworthy books they loved as teenagers. Ayn Rand, unsurprisingly, earned multiple mentions—Sam Anderson, David Grann, Maud Newton, and Boris Kachka admitted to adolescent flirtations—and Kerouac and the Beats also came up several times. Ariel Levy admits an obsession with the Sweet Valley High series, and Lorin Stein confesses he had “no idea what I thought Being and Time was about.”

Harvard professor Robert Darnton announced this week that the Digital Public Library of America is nearing its launch date, and that he has ambitions of competing with Google. In a speech at Columbia, Darnton pledged that the library "will be up and running by April 2013, and its initial holdings will include at least two million books in the public domain accompanied by a dazzling array of special collections far richer than anything available through Google."

Google has decided to end the program through which independent bookstores could sell e-books through the Google platform. Which brings us back to the question: “Are you worried that digital books will ruin your favorite independent bookstore?”

More digital-book news: A new report from the Pew Research Center finds that e-book buyers are reading a third more books than non-digital readers.

The elevator pitch was elevated to an art this week when about a hundred people assembled in London’s Le Baron nightclub to hear nine authors persuade them to financially support their books-in-progress. Described as “a cross between a book slam and election hustings,” the event allotted each writer ten minutes to get people to pledge anywhere from 10 to 250 to their projects, with the additional promise that books which met the fundraising minimum will be published by the event’s host, Unbound Live. But as Lucy Farmer observed at More Intelligent Life, more charismatic readers tended to do the best, and “a good salesman doesn’t necessarily make a worthwhile writer. And equally, good writers aren’t always natural salesmen.”

Aspirin, a framed picture of your cat, and ear plugs: What to pack for your summer writers’ conference.

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