[Since I neglected to post last week (a pre-road trip nap won out), this Friday's post is an extra-large serving of bookmark-worthy links. There are some real doozies in here - enjoy.]
*Let's start things off with a bang, shall we? A Kentucky man sketched out what the basement of his dreams would look like. In his basement. With $10 worth of Sharpies and Magic Markers. It includes literary detectives Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, playwrights George Bernard Shaw and William Shakespeare, and Alice in Wonderland characters The Walrus and the Carpenter. Oh, and it's seriously good.
*"Is there anything more joyful than watching 124 Hemingway lookalikes slug it out?" Go on, find out.
*On the heels of the news that ebooks have outsold hardback books for the first time ever on Amazon, the online retailer released a new $139 Kindle, the cheapest version of the reader yet.
*Ever wondered how classic lit becomes classic? Apparently, angry old critics have to die first. At least, that's what I'd guess after reading about these six classics that were savaged when they first appeared in print.
*And if trial by fire is how classics are born, what does that bode for this year's Man Booker prize longlist?
*Speaking of classics and non-classics, here's a book destined never to have that problem - the upcoming Sarah Palin biography for children has vanished from its publisher's website and schedule just three months before its publication date. Hmmm...
*In related news, S.Palin thinks she's got mad word-coining skills, just like Shakespeare. will.she.aint.
*In actual celebrity news, Daniel Radcliffe is already filling his post-Potter dance card. He's signed up to star in the film adaptation of Susan Hill's modern gothic thriller The Woman in Black. Jane Goldman of Stardust and Kick-Ass fame is set to write the screenplay.
*Also across the pond, celebrated egghead and legendary tweeter Stephen Fry has revealed he'll be presenting a five-part season for BBC2 on language called Planet Word. Presumably, this is part of his effort to fight the infantilism of British TV.
*Last week I posted about I Write Like, the massively popular text analyzer. Naturally, a spoof version has emerged. Called I Actually Write Like, it compares your writing to other writers, as well as animals and household objects. I was cheered to learn that instead of David Foster Wallace, I actually write like a moonstruck lunatic possibly actually wearing a straitjacket.
*Real headline: Boys trail girls in reading; can fart jokes help?
*My heart sank when I read that Enid Blyton's Famous Five books are being updated for the 21st century. I was raised on Enid Blyton, and for me part of the allure of her books was the nostalgia they evoked. I can't help thinking that changing the wording will alter the flavor of the books - and not for the better. There's a reason her books have sold more than 600 million copies, don't you think?
*Now that you know one of the authors responsible for forming my literary bent, here are a few Maggie Gyllenhaal credits for hers.
*To finish things off in style, here's a roundup of nine of the most amazing bookstores in the world (according to HuffPo, but I can't really quibble with their picks).