Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina; Focus Features
Literary supergroup the Rock Bottom Remainders celebrates their twenty-year anniversary later this month with a concert in Los Angeles. The band currently features authors Scott Turow, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson, and James McBride, and at various times has included Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, Mitch Albom, and many other publishing notables. Is it too much to ask to hope for a battle of the bands between them and lit-crit supergroup the Dog House Band?
It's not light summer reading, but The Los Angeles Review of Books is leading an online book club dedicated to William Gaddis's masterwork J R. Participants in #Occupygaddis—the 2012 equivalent of the Infinite Summer club—will read ten pages a day during the summer, and should be halfway done by the end of July, and finished completely by the end of August. And why J R? According to club coordinator Lee Konstantinou, "this summer seems particularly opportune to read J R, given that this is the first summer since the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and given that we're about to enter a crazy presidential election season in which the terrible economy, the crushing burden of individual debt, and Wall Street's role in our political life are going to be central questions." For a better idea of what he means, read Len Gutkin's Bookforum review of the novel.
What books should men read in public to attract literary ladies? The female staff of the Paris Review has some thoughts. If you want to come off as a poseur, "Madness and Civilization; The Power Broker; Zizek (any), and The Brothers Karamazov" are good choices, but men acting in earnest should opt for Patti Smith's Just Kids, or anything by Haruki Murakami or Lydia Davis. One staffer remarked, "extra points for Martin Amis's memoir, minus points for other Martin Amis nonfiction... And a straight man reading Mary Gaitskill would be nearly irresistible to me."
Last week, Tina Fey nabbed the Audio Publishers Association's top prize for the audiobook version of her memoir, Bossypants. Fey beat out Neil Gaiman for his book American Gods, and Walter Isaacson for his biography, Steve Jobs. Other Audies went to William Shatner for his reading of Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large, and Jane Fonda for her audiobook version of her "personal development" book, Prime Time.
New evidence suggests a painting of a teenage woman believed to be Jane Austen may in fact be a portrait of the writer as a young girl. A recent investigation into the painting revealed the author's name and the signature of artist Ozias Humphry on the canvas, corroborating claims that the painting is the first known image of Austen.
We're into The Rumpus's redesigned new website.
Jude Law and Keira Knightley are starring in the latest adaptation of Anna Karenina, which is set to hit theaters in early November.