1. A new New-York Ghost? It must be Tuesday! Make sure to visit Ghost central and subscribe. It's free—and best of all, it's full of bizarre factual errors!
2. The best Ten Words yet?
3. Tonight at 6 p.m. at the New York Public Library: "Critically Speaking," in which three literary magazine editors introduce three new writers. (We got news of a very convoluted recent reading, in which one person introduced two people who introduced one person who introduced five people who introduced five writers—pant, pant!—but this seems less of a labyrinth!) The writers include ad man–turned–excellent novelist James P. Othmer, poet Paul Killebrew, and the Believer's own Meehan Crist.
4. Dizzyhead Jenny has a terrific review of The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing in the Times—great title, fascinating-sounding book:
The novel is set in the 1760s, in Boston, where Octavian and his mother — a West African princess named Cassiopeia — live in the quarters of the Novanglian College of Lucidity, a near double for Swift’s preposterous Academy of Lagado in “Gulliver’s Travels” (1726). The college is a breeding ground for the kinds of pseudoscientific theory about differences between whites and blacks that make for queasy reading. Yet mother and son are treated well. Dressed in silks and expensive white wigs farmed from the heads of Prague pensioners, Octavian and his mother perform duets — Octavian plays the violin, his mother the harpsichord — and exchange syllogisms over dinner.