March 28, 2012 On the Shelf Thurber Insults and Library Dreams By Sadie Stein A cultural news roundup. 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?