A very young Gore Vidal

In time for election season, Amazon has unveiled what they call an “election heat map,” which breaks down the country into “red” and “blue” states by taking the thirty-day averages of political book sales. While on the national level, red book sales are 12 points ahead of blue ones, political affinities switch when it comes to the candidates. According to Amazon, Obama’s biography The Audacity of Hope has outsold sold Romney’s No Apology by 64 percent over the past month.

NASA has renamed a Mars landing site after sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury. The news was announced on Wednesday by NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover, which made landfall and then tweeted, "In tribute, I dedicate my landing spot on Mars to you, Ray Bradbury. Greetings from Bradbury Landing!"

Check out Helen DeWitt’s story “Recovery” in the new edition of Electric Literature.

When is a unpublished novel like a dead man’s kidney? At the Paris Review blog, Casey Cep makes an enthralling (if morbid) case for understanding the complications of posthumous publishing through the logic of organ donation.

Slate publishes clips from Christopher Hitchens’s final, forthcoming memoir Mortality (which Jeff Sharlet reviews in our fall issue), and Slate editor David Plotz complements the excerpts with his own annotations.

Novelist and biographer Jay Parini is confirmed to be writing a biography of Gore Vidal, which is tentatively scheduled to be published in 2015 by Doubleday. According to Doubleday editor (and Bookforum contributor) Gerald Howard, Parini and Vidal met thirty years ago in Italy and had been in frequent contact before the writer’s death in July. “They hit it off quite well,” Howard told the New York Times, “and Jay had been talking to Gore for all that time, usually weekly and sometimes daily, in person or more often over the phone, so he knows a lot about Gore that he’s heard directly from the source.”

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