It’s a sleepy, gloomy Friday here in Pasadena. In other words, it’s a great day to curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee or tea (or something stronger, maybe), and read a good book. I recommend Nick Flynn’s new memoir The Ticking is the Bomb, a book that somehow manages to be about torture, fatherhood, relationships, families and addictions all at once. It will keep you company for a while. For a little more on this book and the process behind it, check out Rebecca Keith’s profile of Flynn at The Millions.
Also worthy of your attention this afternoon is Mark Sarvas’s guidelines for first-time novelists. Among his excellent advice: justify your own existence. “About a year ago, in a P&W interview, an editor – I can’t recall who – said when she reads a book, she always asks why did this need to be written? (The implication, by extension, is why it should be published and/or read.) Andrew Sean Greer approvingly quotes Toni Morrison about writing to fill a space on the shelf that is presently empty.”
Definitely check out the newest Tumblr blog to sweep the nation: F**k Yeah NYRB Classics! If features the always gorgeous NYRB Classics covers with thoughtful write-ups from the blog’s author.
And lastly, buried as a joke near the end of his most reason “Mailbag” column, one of Bill Simmons’s fans has a kind of brilliant insight: “Q: Did Josh Baskin invent the Kindle in his final presentation to the MacMillan toy executives? I’m pretty sure he did. Could be wrong, though. I have been wrong before. –Todd A., Silver Spring, Md.” For those who don’t remember the scene, he’s talking about Tom Hanks’s character in Big. In that scene, Baskin hypothesizes an electronic reader for comic books, and many of the advantages he suggests for it could be taken straight from a Bezos press release.