“A Visual History of Literary References on ‘The Simpsons'” — The Atlantic

I had to share this excellent slideshow from The Atlantic. I never realized just how many literary gags have found their way into The Simpsons over the years. Although one of my favorite episodes is the one where the Simpson family attends the Word Loaf literary conference in Vermont. (Not to be confused with the real world Bread Loaf conference at Middlebury.) And we get to meet animated Jonathan Franzen and Michael Chabon:

Michael Chabon: "You can’t make this stuff up. Jonathan Franzen: "Maybe you can’t." Michael Chabon: That’s it, Franzen! I think your nose needs some Corrections!

As a kid, I wasn’t allowed to watch The Simpsons. I think my parents decided it wasn’t wholesome enough. If only they had known that The Atlantic regards it as “a distinctive form of cultural criticism” that “continually mirror[s] objects of real-world social anxiety.” Tres intellectual.

“Our pastime”

“Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know,
Are a substantial world, both pure and good.
Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
Our pastime and our happiness will grow.”

-William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

Missing the National Book Festival…Again

Well, for the umpteenth time I’m going to be out of town for the National Book Festival on the Mall. They’ve got lots of amazing authors lined up this year’s festivities. I’m particularly bummed to be missing Margaret George (I love her historical fiction), Gregory Maguire (of Wicked fame),  brilliant cartoonist Richard Thompson, and the amazing, Nobel Prize-winning Toni Morrison. Oh, and Dave Eggers and Michael Cunningham. And many others.

At least I’ve gotten to hear Garrison Keillor and John McCutcheon before. And Tomie dePaola, but I don’t think that counts as I was about five-years-old!

Here’s a complete list of the authors attending.

Anyway, if you make it down there, be sure to give me a recap!

New Magical Mystery Machine at Politics & Prose

Espresso Book Machine

So let’s say you’re at the bookstore, and they don’t have what you want in stock. Maybe the book’s even out of print. Frustrating, right? You have to wander off to another store, place a special order or go online. But soon, at the always awesome Politics & Prose, you’ll barely have to wait thanks to the Espresso Book Machine! This magical device can help you find the book you’re looking for and will print and bind it in just five minutes. You can even bring your own manuscript, upload it to the machine and become a “published” author in minutes. Check out the Politics & Prose website for more information on the Espresso Book Machine. (They’re asking for suggestions for it’s permanent name.)

I can’t wait to play with it!

“Literature is my Utopia”

“Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness.”

-Helen Keller

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