On the Shelf



A cultural news roundup.

  • Legendary travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor died this week at ninety-six. Described by the BBC as “a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene,” Fermor authored twelve books and numerous articles. A BBC tribute gives him his due.
  • Australian minister for small businesses Nick Sherry has declared that the bookstore is doomed. Speaking in Canberra, the politician declared, “I think in five years, other than a few specialty bookshops in capital cities, you will not see a bookstore. They will cease to exist because of what’s happening with Internet-based, Web-based distribution … What’s occurring now is an exponential take-off—we’ve reached a tipping point.”
  • Not one but two prominent “lesbian bloggers” are revealed to, in fact, be straight men.
  • Francine Prose and Keri Hulme have sharp words for Naipaul.
  • Rehabilitating the original “Uncle Tom.”
  • Murakami publicly criticizes Japan’s nuclear policy.
  • The return of Batgirl.
  • Actor Mark Rylance quotes poet Louis Jenkins in his Tony acceptance speech.
  • Werner Herzog will narrate an audio version of surprise-hit “bedtime story” Go the Fuck to Sleep.
  • The 100 greatest nonfiction books?