Random links: title-dropping, virtual Nobel laureates and more


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Best use of book title-dropping? The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman, author of the bestseller about globalization, ‘The World is Flat.’ According to early reports about his new online interview show, every interview (with newsmakers like Bill Gates) will begin with the question, ‘When did you realize the world was flat?’

If you just can’t wait for Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek’s work to arrive in bookstores, she’s posting chapters of her new novel, ‘Envy,’ at her website. In an interview she has explained her reasons for showing her work in progress. But, meine freunde, if you don’t sprechen deutsch, don’t bother.

Anyone who knows any of the secrets about the Harry Potter series finale should be very careful. Fans are not taking any would-be spoilers lightly. And just as New Zealand enjoyed a surge of tourism after Peter Jackson’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies, trips to Scotland are way, way up to see the real-life models for Hogwarts and other familiar places in the novels.


Norman Mailer understands Günter Grass’ long silence about his World War II service in the Waffen SS. Some parts of one’s personal history are just difficult to explain, Mailer said at a recent New York Public Library event that also featured an appearance by Grass.
Nick Owchar