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from the Guardian

Russell Brand on the 'alchemy of letter-writing' – video

Russell Brand reveals the mystery of the dog's dinner in the news of his imminent birth and concocts a missive to the creator of a future utopia, and explains why letter-writing remains so important in the age of instant messaging. The interview was recorded as part of Letters Live, a World Book Night event celebrating the enduring power of written correspondence• More from Letters Live

A thoughtful critique of our modern political system from Mike Lofgren (retired Capitol hill staffer) passed on to me by my book group in 9/2011, hitting on some key problems in the system: witch hunts, low or non-informed voters, Dems who assume that the masses will see through the GOP rhetoric, etc.

Zombies at the convenience store. An apocalyptic beauty pageant. Tap-dancing bank robbers. Kelly Link, author of 'Pretty Monsters' and 'Magic for Beginners,' will read from her work on Thursday, March 21, 8pm, and present a talk on the craft of fiction Thursday, March 28, 8pm at Washington University in St. Louis. Both events are free, open to the public literature, short stories, fiction, authors


Growing up Downton: Anthony Russell on living in Leeds Castle

Imagine if a woman such as the Dowager Countess from “Downton Abbey” was one of your grandmothers. And if the other -- the Hon. Olive, Lady Baillie -- owned the incredibly posh Leeds Castle, where Anthony Russell grew up. “I seldom saw her because she was always traveling or fox hunting or both,”...

Part love story, part murder mystery, set on the cusp of the Second World War, Russell Banks' sharp-witted and deeply engaging new novel raises dangerous questions about class, politics, art, love, and madness-and explores what happens when two powerful personalities begin to break the rules. 29-year-old Vanessa Cole is a wild, stunningly beautiful heiress, scandalously linked to any number of rich and famous men. But at her parents' country home in a remote Adirondack Mountain enclave…

from Rolling Stone

The Vampire Squid Strikes Again

The Vampire Squid Strikes Again: The Mega Banks' Most Devious Scam Yet Banks are no longer just financing heavy industry. -They are actually buying it up and inventing bigger, bolder and scarier scams than ever (12 Feb. 2014)