* Awards season is underway and, among the headlines, Nam Le's richly deserved Dylan Thomas Prize for The Boat (Le was recently interviewed at LiteraryMinded); the absurdly long IMPAC Award long list has been announced; and the Goncourt has been awarded, as has the Renaudot. In Canada, they are handicapping the Giller to stay warm.
* Speaking of awards, the Man Booker shortlisted The Northern Clemency has been anointed Amazon's top novel for 2008. Time, on the other hand, gives the honor to 2666. (And yes, the Bolano juggernaut has come to town. Which risks running into the Morrison juggernaut, also headed our way.)
* Rupert Murdoch tightens his grip.
* One for the home team - the VQR Young Reviewers Contest winner is a Pasadena resident. Congratulations to Emily Wilkinson!
* Salman Rushdie is set to co-write the screenplay for Midnight's Children.
* Nothing like winning an election to bump your book sales up.
* Speaking of President-elect Obama, Ian McEwan is the first of what is sure to be a raft of novelists seeking to advise him.
In other words, Mr. Obama assumes power at a time when renewable energy has ceased to be a marginal pursuit. The hour may have summoned the man, but this happens to be a particularly difficult hour. In Berkeleyan mode, we have entered a recession because we always thought we would. The fictional head of a snake has begun to devour its actually existing tail -- a circularity the great Argentinean fabulist, Borges, would have appreciated. We dreamed of this recession, we saw it coming and we made it so. Meanwhile, in the Johnsonian "real" economy, factories, distribution systems, human inventiveness, the will to work, the need for goods and services are much as they were last year -- except, as certainty of the recession tightens, we fear more and spend less, corporations begin their layoffs, and so our recession is locked in.
* A look inside a pair of AP English courses.
* The myth of Gabriel García Márquez is examined in a new biography.
García Márquez is the kind of writer who sees his life as a by-product of his work, and seems to have proved his point by systematically destroying both his literary and personal papers (he even paid his wife soon after their wedding to burn his love letters).
How much, we wonder? Mrs. TEV tended to burn them as she got them.
* We don't write about Ha Jin - whom we admire greatly - nearly as often as we should but his new work on writers who leave their homelands sounds fascinating.
* Rod Liddle: Apres Updike, le deluge.
* You will want to pop around to The Golden Notebook, where seven women are reading and discussing Doris Lessing. It's a great list of contributors and promises to be fascinating.
* Finally, we meant to link to this earlier, but the NBCC has launched a revamped version of Good Reads, which merits your attention.