* TEV Readers in the DC area would be well advised to check out this weekend's National Book Festival. Stringer reports will be welcomed.
* Deborah Eisenberg is one of three writers who are among the latest batch of MacArthur Fellows.
* According to Ladbrokes, Amos Oz is the current favorite to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
* The 2009 Giller Prize long list has been announced.
Female authors of historical fiction dominate the long list of nominees for the 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize – a selection that will likely silence the grumbling that followed the release of last year's long list, when only three of the 15 nominees were women.
* Nilanjana S Roy offers a remembrance of "Professor Meenakshi Mukherjee, scholar, critic and writer, who died last week at the age of 72."
* The National Book Award goes interactive.
* On tour with the madmen: In the Financial Times, William Dalyrmple discusses his unusual, Bengali-flavored take on The Book Tour. (Thanks, EG)
In this new world, being an articulate extrovert certainly helps. Those who can speak brilliantly, funnily, and without notes, tend to sell more books, and get more invitations, than those who are shrinking violets. In the evolutionary jungle of these festivals, having a particular act or a special talent is also a great help. Louis de Bernières now tours book festivals with his collection of mandolins and a piano accompanist. He has developed a splendidly idiosyncratic singalong performance that ends with the audience joining in his rendition of old music-hall classics.
All this has led me to where I stand now: nervously poised to spend a year of my life circling the globe with a busload of saffron-clad holy men who, even in their native Bengal, are known as the Bauls, which means, simply, the madmen.
* The latest angle on the Kindle: Is it good for the Jews?
* For the many of us who were hoping Ralph Nader would finally go away and shut up, no such luck: He's written a novel, God help us all.
* The Millions steps out in front of the pack to anoint "The Best Fiction of the Millennium (So Far)" ...
* John Sutherland reviews J.M. Coetzee's Summertine.
Assuming that Summertime is a bona fide self-portrait, it’s the least flattering since Dorian Gray’s. “John Coetzee”, his near and dear ones grimly recall, was “scrawny”, “seedy” and exuded “an air of failure”. He “had no sexual presence whatsoever, as though he had been sprayed from head to toe with a neutralising spray”. His “teeth are in bad shape”. He is “sexless”. Intercourse with him, reports one disgusted lover, “lacked all thrill”. His cousin, with whom he has an arid fling in a broken-down pick-up truck, calls him “slap gat” – an Afrikaans word for a loose anus. Another lover comes as near as dammit to accusing him of an unhealthily pederastic interest in young girls.
* CBS talks to E.L. Doctorow about Homer & Langley.
* Tulsa gets wind about this novel called Netherland ...
What is the last thing you read that made you laugh out loud?
My royalty statements. It was a sardonic laugh.
* Amish love stories. Seriously, we just wanted to type the words "Amish love stories."
* Ever timely, the excellent Lapham's Quarterly turns its attention to Medicine.
* UK props for L.A.'s literary scene. (Thanks, EG)
What's more, these volumes haven't been bought on Amazon or at Borders, but in independent bookshops – something that Los Angeles, a city more associated with boobs than books, is surprisingly full of.
* And, finally, please do note some new events in the sidebar, including the West Hollywood Book Fair and Joseph O'Neill's 92nd Street Y appearance.