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August 24, 2008


The Independent examines the financial crises facing writers in America.

This new culture of austerity in the New York media has forced several expensive restaurants to close, the latest being Provence, a French bistro in Soho. That, in turn, means fewer service jobs available in high-visibility eateries, an alternative way to keep body and soul together for less successful writers. "If my next book isn't a hit I'm thinking of becoming an interior decorator," says a well-known author whose first novel won a series of prizes. "Either that, or write a memoir called My 100 Worst Dates – And the Ice-Cream Recipes That Got Me Through."

The Guardian reviews Jeffrey Lewis's Reading festival set, giving the singer-songwriter-cartoonist five stars out of a possible five.

In a nutshell: The confused (pained?) looks on the burly security guards' faces tell you all you need to know - Jeffrey Lewis is the anti-Reading, a troubadour who lacks volume, sleekness and headbanging fans but makes up for it by owning a heart that's bursting with charm. Jeffrey's last album consisted purely of cover versions of songs by legendary anarcho-punks Crass, and today it's these that sound most impressive. In fact, the sweetly mumbled lyrics to the likes of Systematic Death and I Ain't Thick, It's Just a Trick pack a bigger punch than Rage Against the Machine's overly obvious rants. And, if you're not in the mood for fighting the system, don't worry - there's songs about dusting your window ledge and getting dumped too.

The University of Nebraska has set up The Willa Cather Archive online to collect texts and resources about the author.

The Boston Globe profiles singer-songwriter Juliana Hatfield, whose new album How to Walk Away is out now and whose memoir, When I Grow Up, is out next month.

"I'm on the edge of something, and it would be so much easier to explain if I had overcome heroin addiction or had some other radical change in my life," Hatfield says over tea at the Four Seasons. "My growth as an artist and a person has been so slow and gradual it's hard to make a story out of it."

The Times Literary Supplement reviews Paul Auster's new novel, Man in the Dark.

Most tellingly, this means that for the first time, perhaps, in an Auster novel the heart is more important than the head. There is a pleasingly sentimental strain to the writing, which bears unsubtle witness to the primacy of love and lust when it is experienced (“the knockout beauty who will suck the breath out of you and make your heart stop beating”) and the devastation when it departs: “people die of broken hearts. It happens every day, and it will go on happening until the end of time”.

Austin Music Source interviews Tom Blankenship of My Morning Jacket.

Modern Southern bands often have a literary bent. Any favorite authors?

Kurt Vonnegut, Michael Chabon, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card.

Pendant of the day: "Literary Necklace" (which doubles as a journal)

The New York Times examines the murky film rights that surround the adaptation of The Watchmen.

The Baltimore Sun explores the US Naval Academy's new recruiting tools, which will include a graphic novel.

The graphic novel will be released this fall. Fowler said he has seen a first draft but would not provide details, except to say that it includes scenes in the tomb of John Paul Jones, the Revolutionary War naval hero whose crypt is under the Naval Academy Chapel.

The graphic novel - which typically are lengthy comic books with complex storylines - has some fantasy elements, as well, Fowler said.

"It's a little bit of young people who are able to see what they might be doing in the future and their part of protecting America," he said.

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