• Jessa Crispin files a great, candid dispatch from the London Book Fair:
If Book Expo America is a carnival — full of people desperately trying to draw attention to themselves with costumes, sway, and the occasional barely dressed woman — then the London Book Fair has all the atmosphere of an accountancy seminar. We are here at Earl’s Court to make deals and sell product, with brief breaks to discuss why we are not selling much product anymore.
• Small Beer Press is making Maureen McHugh’s book of short stories, Mothers & Other Monsters, available for free download. This news has already been widely linked to, but it’s a fantabulous book, one of my favorite collections of the last few years, and so I wanted to draw your attention there just in case. If you follow that link, you’ll see it’s the third book the press is making available this way — the two others are Kelly Link’s Stranger Things Happen (which I trust you’ve read, but David Orr fears you haven’t) and John Kessel’s The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories (which I haven’t read yet, but which comes highly recommended from a trusted source.)
• “He’d dead, Jim.”
Here’s where I can insert that at our local Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company, a very good pizza joint with a dollar theater attached (and a place where you should always tip handsomely because my stepson works there), there’s a menu item called the William Shatner Cheese Quesadilla. If you click through and watch the item above, there’s a moment that’s like a giant, delicious mouthful of William Shatner Cheese Quesadilla.
• While you were asleep last night, William T. Vollmann was hopping a train with a couple bums in Taipei. While you were brushing your teeth, he was sleeping with a hooker in Mexico City. And while you ate your cereal this morning, he banged out 10,000 pages on his next book. (Even as I type this he is teaching some Filipino convicts the routine to “Thriller.”) So, maybe it’s not too surprising that with a writer of such profligacy, sometimes he lands his metaphor … and sometimes he misses.