Studs Terkel in Springfield

There are certain projects that set a fan's heart afire.  The Simpsons : An Uncensored, Unauthorized History  is one of them.  John Ortved's ambitious undertaking is  to piece together the history of one of the few programs that's been both a global hit and  a monument to how smart and satisfying television can be.


The book's officially out next week, and while we've only just cracked ours open (still warm, like a bag of Lard Lad donuts), we look forward to finding out everything we can about the genesis of Springfield.

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.