(Apologies for the quick-hit stuff over the past couple of days—the weeks before the holidays, combined with some added deadlines, tend to make life a little more complicated.)
Also onstage: Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain. Still. Forever.
The Washington Post‘s book blog, Short Stack, reports from Maya Angelou‘s reading in D.C. the other night. Angelou’s writing process: “[S]he rents a hotel room by the month and tells the management to remove everything from the walls. She works all morning with a Bible, a Roget’s Thesaurus, the New York Times crossword puzzle and a good bottle of sherry. ‘I try to enchant myself to hear my language,’ she said. ‘Once I can almost remove myself from the ordinary, I get to my yellow pad.'”
Toni Morrison on the state of African-American fiction: “I’m not terribly up on it, but my impression is that it is thriving. Really thriving. You have everyone from Edwidge Danticat to Colson Whitehead. And of course, the literature of young Asian writers is also very interesting to me. The range is what is so fabulous.” Plus, her thoughts on the death of John Leonard.
And just for fun: Billy Joel registers a weak defense of one of his worst songs.