James Franco, making his author face.

It’s especially easy to hate on James Franco now that Amazon has bought his first novel, but at Slate, David Haglund speculates why the book might actually be good.

The Associated Press is teaming up with twenty-eight other news organizations to start an organization dedicated to "licens[ing] original news content and collect[ing] royalties from aggregators."

“The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Mayer,” “Slaughterhouse Five Guys Burgers and Fries,” “In Search of Lost Timex (or, Swann's Wayfarers)”; and “Tropicana of Cancer” are our favorites contributions to the |#!/search?q=%23bookproductplacement|funniest new Twitter hashtag,| #bookproductplacement.

The February issue of Vanity Fair features Christopher Hitchens’ final column, on Charles Dickens.

Can good design help save the mass-market paperback?

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is betting big on Alison Bechdel’s nonfiction graphic novel, Are You My Mother, giving it a first print run of 100,000 copies.

Getrude Stein

Longtime New York Times veteran David Kelly has been named the deputy editor of the Times’ Book Review.

After nearly thirty years at the alt weekly, the Village Voice has laid off crackerjack film critic—and Bookforum contributor—J. Hoberman.

Live in New York and want to attend a forty-eight hour reading of Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans? Then the launch event for online magazine Triple Canopy’s new space might be up your alley.

We’re marking our calendars: On March 11 at the Museum of the Moving Image, Geoff Dyer will give a talk called “Tarkovsky, Cinema, and Life.”

Check out the trailer for Ben Marcus’s new novel, The Flame Alphabet.

Issue 16 of arts and literary quarterly The Thing features a short story by Dave Eggers. Printed on a shower curtain.

Jason Diamond ponders the connection between literature and menswear. (May we add a footnote? A clothing display at Open Ceremony, Broadway near 30th Street, features James Hannaham’s God Says No.)

Poet Marianne Moore

Rumor has it that an Apple event scheduled for later this month in New York won’t be about the Next Big Apple Product, but about e-books and the future of digital publishing. Details are scant, but according to TechCrunch, “attendance will also be more publishing industry-oriented than consumer-focused."

Will the real Michiko Kakutani please register their Twitter handle? Two Twitter users both claiming to be the New York Times book critic are beefing online. As far as we know, neither Kakutani is secretly Colin McEnroe.

The Millions releases its “Most Anticipated Books of 2012” list.

James Franco has just sold his first novel, tentatively titled Actors Anonymous, to Amazon editor Ed Park. The Observer reports that the book will be about Franco’s (loosely fictionalized?) experience as an actor.


GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney.

The GOP primaries kick off today with the Iowa caucus. To get a sense of the Republican candidates, check out Longform’s guide to the 2012 contenders, a recent New York Times profile of Mitt Romney, and a New Yorker piece on Newt Gingrich.

Norwegian police are on the hunt for forged documents allegedly belonging to writers Henrik Ibsen and Knut Hamsun after a Norwegian scriptwriter was arrested for falsely claiming to have discovered fragments of a lost Ibsen play. "He was very convincing," an Oslo antiquarian booksellers, told The Observer. "His story was that he was a collector of all kinds of stuff connected to the second world war— uniforms, medals etc—and that he had got in touch with the older Nazis living in Spain and Norway." The man accused of pulling the con, Geir Ove Kvalheim, will go on trial in April.

At least six major museums and universities have announced plans to start collecting materials from Occupy Wall Street, and NYU and Columbia are now offering classes on the movement.

Ruth Franklin is done with ordinary old New Year resolutions. Last year, she started making literary resolutions. At the New Republic, she tells you how well she did in 2011, and lists a few reading resolutions for 2012.

Merce Cunningham

As the Merce Cunninghman Dance Company concludes its final tour in New York, writer Alma Guillermoprieto remembers her former instructor: “Merce insisted throughout that his dances were not abstract: ‘I have never seen an abstract human body’ he often remarked. He himself danced like a man on fire.”

The New York Times publishes Sam Anderson’s year in marginalia, highlighting the critic’s best in-book scribblings. Lines from an Anne Carson poem get a “LOL,” while a note in Anderson’s copy of The Pale King reads, “DFW + Dostoevsky: investigative journalists of self-consciousness.”

For its inaugural column about feminist academics, Feministing interviews New School media studies professor Kate Eichhorn, who is working on an archive of queer feminist zines and small press publications.

Author Adam Johnson recalls his 2007 trip to North Korea, and what it was like to be in “a country with no books.”

Tin House staff select their favorite debut novels of 2011: Eleanor Henderson’s Ten Thousand Saints, Donald Ray Pollock’s The Devil All the Time, Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station, and John Franc’s Hooked all get nods, as do Sara Levine’s Treasure Island!!! and Marcus Jackson’s Neighborhood Register.