Early Morning Lit News: Michael Crichton, William S Burroughs, and Jane Austen


Crichton dies at 66: Bestselling giant MICHAEL CRICHTON — who began writing to pay off his bills at Harvard Medical School — died Tuesday at the age of 66. After having churned out science-fiction thrillers like SPHERE and ANDROMEDA STRAIN, not to mention all the JURASSIC PARK books, he leaves quite a legacy. [NYT]

Kundera has really important friends: Eleven internationally renowned writers have come to the defense of Czech author MILAN KUNDERA, who on Monday was accused of being a police informer under communist rule. Kundera’s publisher claims that his reputation is being threatened by the accusations, and writers such as SALMAN RUSHDIE, J.M. COETZEE and PHILIP ROTH came to the Czech writer’s defense. [AFP]

Stop and smell the graveyards: The BLACK PHOENIX ALCHEMY LAB has expanded their repertoire into more literary territory. The laboratory is adapting scents from NEIL GAIMAN’s THE GRAVEYARD BOOK and making them into perfumes. “Eau de Ghoul” joins the ranks of the lab’s scents, alongside classics like an Oscar Wilde and Marquis de Sade scents. We’ve always wondered what sadomasochism smells like. [MTV]

The Beats go on: The novel that kick-started the Beat Generation is now going to be published. AND THE HIPPOS WERE BOILED IN THE TANKS — a collaboration by JACK KEROUAC and WILLIAM S BURROUGHS — was written 13 years before Kerouac’s ON THE ROAD and tells a story of friendship, gay obsession and murder. [The Independent]

Dickinson’s trees threatened: An Amherst, Mass. proposal to cut down nearly 200 hemlock trees near EMILY DICKINSON’s house has sparked a heated debate among residents. After her death in 1886, the trees were left unkempt and local museum directors would like to replace them with a more appropriate hedge. Many, however, claim that the trees outside the poet’s home are what inspired her to write. [Boston Globe]

We don’t remember the ballpark scene in Pride and Prejudice: Thanks to JANE AUSTEN, the Brits are trying to claim baseball. [Telegraph]

– Iza Wojciechowska