Matthew Thurber is an artist living in Brooklyn. He is the author of the graphic novels 1-800-MICE, INFOMANIACS, and Art Comic, which is forthcoming next year. “Kill Thurber” appears in Kramers Ergot 9.
- The Iowa Writers’ Workshop: brought to you by the CIA. (Also herewith: Frank Conroy’s derisive pronouncements on everyone from Melville to Pynchon. “Of David Foster Wallace he growled, with a wave of his hand, ‘He has his thing that he does.’”)
- Haruki Murakami had a jazz club. It closed in 1981. What you’ll find there today: “A drab three-story cement building. Outside … a restaurant had set up a sampuru display of plastic foods. Above it, an orange banner advertised DINING CAFE.” Jazz!
- Tracking the fluctuating sales of Library of America classics: “Who would have thought that Ben Stiller’s movie remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty would triple sales of the LOA’s James Thurber edition. Or that the film version of On the Road would increase sales of the Kerouac volume that contains the novel by more than thirty percent?”
- While we’re on Kerouac: a German college student took all the locations from On the Road and plugged them into Google Maps. The resulting driving directions—On the Road for 17,527 Miles—are available for free. My personal favorite part is “Take exit 362 to merge onto I-180 N/Interstate 25 Business/US-85 N/US 87 Business toward Central Ave.”
- A must for your reference shelf: every Prince hairstyle from 1978 to 2013, in one easy-to-read (and purple, of course) chart.
- “Why did he choose to send me a postcard? Simply because it’s a few cents cheaper than mailing a letter in an envelope? Was it just sitting around when he was looking for something to write on? Does he buy stacks of these postcards for the express purpose of responding to random fans? And worse, does he write this same prepared response to every letter?” Frank Cassese on hearing from DFW.
- An unpublished Truman Capote story has come to light and will be published later this month.
- “Within the world of the Thurber dog there are many different specimens and varieties.”
- “I don’t know why Hollywood is fascinated by my book when they never care to film it as I wrote it.” Authors respond to adaptations of their work.
- “For Halloween, a pointy hat, fake hair and a broom [make] a witch’s outfit.” And other wisdom from Pippa Middleton’s literary debut.
- Happy seventy-sixth, Mario Vargas Llosa!
- Muggles get the Harry Potter treatment in Florida. “At Ollivanders, the wand shop, character actors put on a show. With a few dozen people crowded into a room, a bearded wizard proceeds to help a child select a wand. ‘Descendo!’ he cries. Boxes tumble down and the shelves fall apart on cue. It was the wrong wand. ‘Repairo!’ he cries. The shelves put themselves back together. The long-bearded gent eventually gives the girl an Ash wand, ‘an excellent wand for a charismatic, successful wizard.’”
- You can even read the books!
- At forty-two, historical novelist Rabee Jaber is the youngest winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction.
- On the plus side, James Thurber wrote back to his fans. “One of the things that discourage us writers is the fact that 90 per cent of you children write wholly, or partly, illiterate letters, carelessly typed. You yourself write ‘clarr’ for ‘class’ and that’s a honey, Robert, since s is next to a, and r is on the line above.”
- An ode to the thesaurus.
- How about a little fancy-library porn? (This Johns Hopkins professor totally beats Lagerfeld in the library stakes.)
- Book origami.
- Henry James is the most-studied writer.
- Did it really take this long to make an Art of War graphic novel?