Friday finds

Sweet ThursdayCaustic Cover Critic interviews Mick Wiggins, whose lovely cover designs for the Penguin Classics editions of John Steinbeck could almost induce me to re-read Sweet Thursday, probably Steinbeck’s single worst novel (made all the worse by the fact that it’s a sequel to Cannery Row, his single best). Wiggins started out painting with oils, but in the Eighties he embraced digital techniques and gradually evolved a style that starts with scanned-in pencil sketches and proceeds from there with Photoshop. And here are some other examples of the man’s work, along with his Website.

A book that’s a study in ordinariness, in which little or nothing happens, and yet it’s fascinating. (Via Christian Bauman.)

What Richard Nixon couldn’t do, the Washington Post does to itself. And so, au revoir.

J.D. Lapidos reads the bogus Catcher in the Rye sequel and offers some advice.

Prep for the upcoming film version of Where the Wild Things Are by reading this excellent Bill Moyers interview with the author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak.

Richard Feynman’s Messenger Lectures series, delivered in 1964 at Cornell FeynmanUniversity, presented for you on video with annotations, all courtesy of Bill Gates, who thinks he may have gone into physics instead of software if he’d seen these lectures. The talks are delivered by Feynman in his characteristically humorous style and engaging style. (You’ll need to download Microsoft Silverlight to watch them, but it’s no biggie — even I managed it without trouble.) The name of the venture, Project Tuva, is pretty amusing if you know about Feynman’s interest in that country. It also gives you an impetus to add the charming film Genghis Blues to your Netflix queue.

This is going to be the Jack Vance summer, for me and a lot of other people. Songs of The Dying Earth, a collection of stories from other writers based on Vance’s seminal book The Dying Earth and its sequels, is coming out along with his memoir, This Is Me, Jack Vance. Even the New York Times has taken notice and given Vance a long, very knowledgeable profile.

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