09 October 2009

Post-Its: Smiling while reading aloud edition

Endearing if done right; more than a little creepy if done wrong.

Widener is still overrated: Harvard just dropped an unspecified amount of money on John Updike's personal papers, including letters, review copies with his notes in them and golf score cards(1). The author, who graduated 1954 but according to the Globe only set one short story at his alma mater, used Widener Library to research several of his books including 2006's TERRORIST. Well, to each his own. (Boston Globe)

In other news, water wet, sky blue: As in pretty much every sector save H1N1 vaccines, consumer spending on books is down right now, because Dan Brown failed to save the publishing industry he was previously accused of killing. Burn him! (NY Times)

This game is a metaphor for the decline of contemporary culture: Can you tell Dustin "Screech" Diamond's memoir BEHIND THE BELL from Ernest Hemingway's FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS(2)? (The Daily Beast)

Still two months left to be good: One of the items in the legendary/scary Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog is a $200,000 "Algonquin round table experience," in which you get a scintillating dinner party with writers(3) like Christopher Buckley, Adam Gopnik and Malcolm Gladwell. On the bright side, the proceeds from this ridiculous expenditure(4) will be donated to a great charity called First Book. (Via WSJ)

Believe the hype: This may just be ancestral pride shining through but I am super excited that a Swedish (5) adaptation of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO will hit theatres here next year. It had looked for a while that an American company was going to buy it only to remake it, and that was worrying. (Variety)

(2) In an earlier version of this post it read FROM WHOM THE BELL TOLLS. It tolls from thee! Ernest, turn off thy ringtone!
(3) The catalog guarantees eight authors will be there, as if the experience weren't commodified enough already.
(4) Insider tip: You can have dessert in the Round Table Room at the Algonquin any day for way, way, way, way less than this, although it's exorbitant when compared to a normal restaurant. Get the tiramisu.
(5) I have heard your blonde joke, and it sucks.


8yearoldsdude said...

dorothy parker would wither malcolm gladwell with a single well-placed barb.

I had not-my-money traveling-work-breakfast at the algonquin. it was not delicious, and my coworkers were not at all witty. i was a little disappointed.

Ellen said...

I was similarly not struck by a bolt of wit while at the Algonquin. And yet... it was kind of cool to sit in there anyway.

Wade Garrett said...

The first time I walked past the Algonquin, I did a double-take - it was difficult to believe that it was still there. I hadn't heard that it had been torn down, or anything like that, but it just seems to be from a bygone era that its weird to think that it is now wired for hi-speed internet and serves lattes. I've never been inside, but its still a beautiful building.

In my experience, the Algonquin Hotel usually comes up in a sarcastic context, such as when Sam Seaborn made fun of CJ by saying "that's quite an Algonquin roundtable you grew up in, CJ."