1. There's an octopus that will stuff six of its tentacles into a hole in the ground and extend the two remaining tentacles as far as they will go, giving the illusion that it's a poisonous banded sea snake.
2. I never read Pierre Bayard's How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read, but I clipped a review from the TLS. I uncovered this review last night, while looking for something else. I realized I never read the review, either. (This was about three years ago.) Should I just throw it out? Or is it telling me something?
3. Andrew Leland, member of a Dance to the Music of Time book club (!), has some thoughts on Powell and Powellians:
4. Paul Collins on Barbara Follett, in Lapham's Quarterly. This is how you write a lede!:
Who now reads Cowley? If he pleases yet,
His moral pleases, not his pointed wit;
Forgot his epic, nay Pindaric art,
But still I love the language of his heart.
“But,” our narrator adds, “surely the pointed wit was just what did survive?” And who now reads Powell? A weirdly vocal and large group, it seems. The pleasure of Powell is in his humor, and his humor is entirely social. “Wit was just the quality he brought to bear with such remarkable effect.”
In a New Hampshire apartment during the winter of 1923, this typewritten notice was fastened squarely against a closed door:
NOBODY MAY COME INTO THIS ROOM IF THE DOOR IS SHUT TIGHT (IF IT IS SHUT NOT QUITE LATCHED IT IS ALL RIGHT) WITHOUT KNOCKING. THE PERSON IN THIS ROOM IF HE AGREES THAT ONE SHALL COME IN WILL SAY “COME IN,” OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT AND IF HE DOES NOT AGREE TO IT HE WILL SAY “NOT YET, PLEASE,” OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. THE DOOR MAY BE SHUT IF NOBODY IS IN THE ROOM BUT IF A PERSON WANTS TO COME IN, KNOCKS AND HEARS NO ANSWER THAT MEANS THERE IS NO ONE IN THE ROOM AND HE MUST NOT GO IN.
REASON. IF THE DOOR IS SHUT TIGHT AND A PERSON IS IN THE ROOM THE SHUT DOOR MEANS THAT THE PERSON IN THE ROOM WISHES TO BE LEFT ALONE.
5. Richard Nash talks about William Poundstone's Priceless in his "Year of Reading" roundup at The Millions.
6. Two more pieces to write...