We're still digging out but we're back on the job around here with a considerable backlog of goodies ...
* Speculation is rife about the potential impact of Apple's rumored tablet on the publishing industry. (Enough qualifiers there?)
* The National Book Critics Circle has announced their 2009 award finalists.
* It's been a while since Martin Amis said anything to embarrass himself, but he's starting the year off right with talk of euthanasia booths for the elderly ...
But none of those opponents were as tough as his new target promises to be. Now 60, Amis has picked a fight with the grey power of Britain's ageing population, calling for euthanasia "booths" on street corners where they can terminate their lives with "a martini and a medal".
The author of Time's Arrow and London Fields said in an interview at the weekend that he believes Britain faces a "civil war" between young and old, as a "silver �tsunami" of increasingly ageing people puts pressure on society.
(Of course, he does have a new novel on its way ... Much less annoying, here he is on Time's Arrow.)
* A recap of the Jaipur Literature Festival.
* The Big Read is headed to San Diego, taking on The Grapes of Wrath.
He added, "As Carolyn See (author of 'Making a Literary Life') says, your book is dead after four months. That's when they start pulling it off the shelf to make room for new books. All books die eventually, in a certain way, but I don't want to let that happen without really giving it my attention."
* Ian McEwan has become the first mainstream British author to sign an exclusive deal through Amazon to double the royalties he receives on his backlist.
* Chinamanda Ngozi Adichie on Chinua Achebe for Salon.
* Ursula K. Le Guin is rallying writers against Google Books.
Le Guin's petition includes such luminaries as notable science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson and Nick Harkaway, author of the bestselling debut novel The Gone-Away World.
* Peter Carey's new novel, Parrot and Olivier in America, is reviewed in the Irish Times.
* Dennis Lehane is among the many who paid tribute to Robert B. Parker, who died last week - at his writing desk - at the age of 77.
What's lost in his massive success and prodigious output is how revolutionary those early Spenser books were. He lifted the genre out of the ham-fisted macho '50s ethos it had been mostly mired in for two decades (Ross Macdonald and a few other notables notwithstanding, of course) and brought it into the '70s, all sly and sexy and edgy-funny.
* Small talk with Joyce Carol Oates at the Financial Times.
* Heller McAlpin is one of the few critics who seems to get precisely what Joshua Ferris is up to with his new novel, The Unnamed.
* Alex Clark asks whether the golden promise of the McEwan-Amis-Ishiguro generation has been fulfilled.
* Tom Stoppard interviewed in the Telegraph, wearing a fright wig, apparently.
At this point I interrupt, filling the pause, and he loses his train of thought.
A grin. ‘Perhaps that was God telling me to shut up. For a long time I managed to think two things simultaneously, that I am actually a good playwright, and that the next time I write a play I will be revealed as someone who is no good at all.
* Small publishers contemplate life without Borders.
* David Malouf and Peter Carey are amongsix Australian novelists to have new stamps in their honor.
* The Chicago Tribune suggests that Graham Greene's 1966 novel The Comedians still holds up as a portrait of Haitian despair.
* A Bollywood adaptation of Midnight's Children is in the works.
* Lest we think it's only American youth that's illiterate, the Telegraph advises that British young uns aren't much better read.
The survey suggested that nearly two in ten children thought Fagin played football for Manchester United rather than picked pockets in Dickens's Oliver Twist. And Moby Dick is, according to nearly half the children asked, a pop star not a man-eating whale.
* The University of Pennsylvania is the chosen home of the Chaim Potok papers. (Sorry, couldn't help it.)
* The Wall Street Journal on the death of the slush pile.
* Muriel Spark's 1992 autobiography is reissued in the UK.
* And, finally, Harry, Revised gets a truly lovely review in Le Monde.