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Reclusive celebrities – and books shut away

January Magazine draws our attention to Time Magazine’s “Top Ten List of Reclusive Celebrities”. They’re not all authors, but half of them are, number one (of course) J. D. Salinger. He stopped giving interviews in 1980, and it’s highly unlikely he’ll ever say anything in public again – “to the creator of Holden Caulfield, we [...]

Bits and pieces, oder: Ein bunter Teller

• Das Produktivitätssteigerungsblog “Zen Habits” bietet in einem Gastbeitrag von Greg Go 55 Ways to Get More Energy. Ich könnte im Moment etwas mehr Energie gut gebrauchen, wenn ich mir so ansehen, was sich auf meinem Schreibtisch türmt. Einige der Tipps scheinen mir für den Lehrberuf nicht so recht praktikabel – etwa der Rat, [...]

John Updike, Author, Dies at 76

The New York Times:

NEW YORK (AP) — John Updike, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, prolific man of letters and erudite chronicler of sex, divorce and other adventures in the postwar prime of the American empire, died Tuesday at age 76. Updike, best known for his four ”Rabbit” novels, died of lung cancer at a hospice near [...]

January Magazine: Best Books of 2008: Fiction

Nicht einfach eine Liste, sondern Empfehlungen, die auch begründet werden:
January Magazine: Best Books of 2008: Fiction
In der Spalte rechts sind die “best books” aus den anderen Kategorien verlinkt.

Harold Pinter, playwright and polemicist

Harold Pinter, who was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 2005, died on 24th Dec. 2008.
I’ve read a couple of Harold Pinter obituaries in the meantime, but the one in the Economist seems to me to convey a good idea of what the writer was like: Harold Pinter, playwright and polemicist.

Because he could be [...]

10 Best Books of 2008 | New York Times

Das “Open Culture” Blog weist auf die Top-Ten-Liste der New York Times hin: 10 Best Books of 2008 | Open Culture.


Dangerous Laughter: Thirteen Stories by Steven Millhauser (Excerpt)
A Mercy by Toni Morrison (First Chapter)
Netherland by Joseph O’Neill (First Chapter)
2666 by Roberto Bolaño (Excerpt)
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (Excerpt)


The Dark Side: [...]

Poetry Archive (!)

A wholehearted recommendation for various reasons: Poetry Archive.

This wonderful website contains recordings of around one hundred contemporary poets reading their poetry. There usually are a handful of poems for each poet, so there must be ca. 500 poems at the Poetry Archive. You get a streamed recording and can also read along while listening. The [...]


The “News on the Rialto” blog, dedicated to all things Shakespearean, has drawn my attention to the BardBox.
BardBox is “an attempt to bring together some of the best and most interesting of original Shakespeare-related videos on YouTube”.
Among other things, there is a page where you can look for videos connected with a particular play, and [...]

Margaret Atwood: “A Matter of Life and Debt”

Nachdem man eine Reihe von Journalisten und Finanzfachleuten zum Thema Wirtschaftskrise gehört hat, tut es gut, mal eine Äußerung aus der Feder einer Schriftstellerin zu lesen. Margaret Atwood schreibt in ihrem Op-Ed-Beitrag “A Matter of Life and Debt” ( unter anderem (NB: smart allusion in the headline):

In “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” for example, human beings are [...]

Corduroy Mansions – online novel by Alexander McCall Smith

Only just discovered: The Telegraph offers a podcast of one chapter a day of Alexander McCall Smith’s first online novel:
“Corduroy Mansions” by Alexander McCall Smith.
I listened to Chapter 14: The Names of Dogs, read by Andrew Sachs, and I quite enjoyed it. He has a pleasant voice which transports the little ironies in McCall Smith’s [...]