#motorcyclevagina, new Murakami, nuclear gypsies

What does #motorcyclevagina have to do with the ACLU (And where is John Stewart when we need him)?

Nin Andrews does a weekly Monday comic for Best American Poetry.

Read the new Murakami story, Samsa In Love, online in the New Yorker.

Bunnicula author: Best children’s book Halloween costumes.

Scientific American has posted Reuters’ Special Report: Help wanted in Fukushima: Low pay, high risks and gangsters. We can’t figure out why a website failure, seized upon by politicians starved for a target, gets all the US airtime while a major new earthquake and ongoing meltdown crisis across the Pacific gets barely a mention.

S, the novel conceived by J J Abrams and authored by Doug Dorst, is creating logistical problems for libraries. Structured as a story-within-a-story, the physical book is encased in a box–the only place on which the title “S” actually appears. Inside this box-shell is a fictitious novel (yes, I wrote that) containing marginalia which become a correspondence between two of the novel’s readers. Sounds pretty intriguing to me. Our librarian friend tells us, though, that we may not want to read a library copy. The library’s distributor, Baker & Taylor (one of the biggest book middlemen in the business) decided in its wisdom to open and discard the outer box and send libraries who order “S” only the interior (fictitious) novel. So the first problem is, no visible title of the actual book–just the book-within-the-book (which has, naturally, a fictitious title). How to shelve? How to index? Topping that off, Dorst has tucked some loose slips of paper between the pages of the book–not all his characters’ notes exist as actual marginalia scribed into the interior novel. So, how does a librarian keep track of all that floating paper?

All of this reminds us of Nick Bantock’s alluring Griffin and Sabine series in which the entire story is told in the form of individual letters which the reader must extract, one by one, from envelopes bound into the book. If Dorst’s novel is half that beautifully made it will be worth the stiff retail price.

with love,