Win a Copy of Maurice Sendak’s Nutcracker


The good people at Random House are giving away a copy of ETA Hoffman’s Nutcracker illustrated by Maurice Sendak to one lucky Biblioklept reader. The book is beautiful, so you’ll have to work for it. The first person to answer all of the following questions correctly will be sent a copy of the book (sorry, US addresses only). Email answers and your mailing address to biblioklept.ed[at]gmail[dot]com.

Okay, folks, we got a winner. Congrats to Mihaela Geaman who was the first to send in a set of correct answers. Answers below:

1. Which Sendak book most often appears on the ALA’s 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books list?

2. Which two American Renaissance era writers did Sendak frequently cite as favorites?

3. What English artist did Sendak “borrow” images from for his collaboration with Robert Graves?

4. What fictional character did Sendak consider his “twin”?

5. What tragic news story inspired elements of Sendak’s book Outside Over There?


1. In the Night Kitchen

2. Emily Dickinson & Herman Melville

3. Beatrix Potter

4. Mickey Mouse

5. The Lindbergh baby kidnapping

Melville House Wants to Duel with You

The good folks at Melville House want to duel with you. They’re publishing five novellas, all called The Duel, and they want you to make a trailer for the books. You can win books and “underground fame,” which I’m sure won’t be fleeting (in any case, winning all 42 titles in their Art of the Novella series is nothing to sneeze at). Full details at Moby Lives.

Some other duels we like:

A duel from Barry Lyndon

Jean-Léon Gérôme’s Duel After the Masked Ball—

“Duel” by Swervedriver—

Win a Copy of The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

UPDATE: The contest is closed–and in record time.

Want to win a copy of The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis? Of course you do. The book makes a hefty stocking stuffer, so you could even give it away if you wanted to, but we suggest you do the selfish thing and hold on to it. It’s excellent.

Picador has kindly agreed to give a copy to one lucky Biblioklept reader (you must have a U.S. address, though). Win this handsome Davis volume by being the first to correctly answer all three questions of our quiz. Post your answers in the comments section.

1. Lydia Davis was married to another famous writer back in the 1970s. Name that writer and his new novel.

2. One of Davis’s short story collections is titled Samuel Johnson Is Indignant. Why is Dr. Johnson indignant? (Hint: Read our review).

3. In a 2008 interview with The Believer, Davis commented that she tried to translate/update a famous 18th century Irish novelist’s work. Who was the writer?

Listening Library’s Fantasy Road Trip Contest

PrintWe’re big advocates of audiobooks here at Biblioklept. A good audiobook helps the most mundane of chores zip by, making you a more educated, conscientious, and cultured person in the process (probably). Audiobooks are also essential to any road trip, and the good folks at Random House’s Listening Library labs have a new contest to help encourage parents and their kids to listen to audiobooks this summer. The contest, open to teens ages 13 to 18, is to create a video that addresses the following prompt: “If you could go on a road trip with a character from your favorite audio series, where would you go? What would you do along the way? How would you travel?” The winner will get an 8GB iPod Touch, as well as signed copies of audiobooks by the contest judges authors Libba Bray, Tamora Pierce, and Rick Riordan, all accomplished writers of young adult fantasy series. Get full details of the contest at Listening Library’s website. Seems pretty cool.

Caged Bedouins, Uruguayan Cannibals, Mr. Max Tundra, Absent Adventurer Anniversary, and a Few Morsels of Hurricane Lit


1. Friends of the ‘klept have embarked on a new culinary adventure. Read all about it at brand new blog Confined Nomad. Their mission:

The goal of this journey is to find cuisines from every United Nations member state, within New York City limits, in alphabetical order. We realize that there are a few flaws to this logic, and will make every attempt to handle these wisely when we reach a questionable issue. For instance, cuisines are not defined by the UN. There are regional specialties, there are countries not internationally recognized, there are border disputes, and new countries are being formed all the time . . . This blog will serve as documentation of the adventure, in which we will do our best to describe not only the food we eat, but also things we learn about its nation of origin, culture, and the immigrant communities here in New York City. We hope this will be much more than a food blog.

The virgin entries on Afghanistan and Albania are tasty fare (sorry!) and we’re looking forward to plenty more delectable treats (yikes! sorry again!).

2. We finally saw Frank Marshall’s 1993 film Alive this weekend. Alive, based on Piers Paul Read’s book of the same name, tells the true story of the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crash of October 13, 1972, in which a Uruguayan rugby team’s chartered flight crashes in the Andes. The survivors eventually resort to cannibalizing the dead to survive (let’s see what happens when Confined Nomad gets to ‘U’ on their list). Despite plenty of strange flaws, including egregious over-acting, the film is oddly great. An intense, chest-tightening narrative that offers few moments of relief, Alive is a real-life horror movie masquerading as an adventure tale. Recommended.

3. With distinguished Englishman Max Tundra’s new album Parallax Error Beheads You ready to drop any day now (glowing review forthcoming), we thought we’d bring up the greatness of his last CD, Mastered by Guy at the Exchange. Max’s MBGATE was easily one of our favorite albums of the early aughties. Weird and tuneful and splendid and frenetic, MBGATE is a neglected classic, perhaps due to its unclassifiable sound. Max programs old Amigas, plays dozens of instruments, and sings along with his sister on a strange group of songs about Michel Gondry, delivery jobs, amino acids, the break up of Don Caballero (with Storm & Stress as consolation prize), and, uh, girls. We love it and so should you. His website is awesome, by the way.

4. Today marks the one-year anniversary of gazillionaire adventurer Steve Fossett disappearing along with his single-engine Bellanca Super Decathlon airplane. We don’t think Fossett is dead, and neither, apparently, does Chris Irvine, who speculated in the Telegraph that Fossett faked his own death. We now invite our readers, again, to speculate on the whereabouts of Mr. Fossett. Check out our Steve Fossett Fan Fiction Contest blog for all the details!

5. Down here in The Florida, we continue to have hurricane concerns. And, because this blog likes to masquerade as a a literary affair, we offer a few lines from books on the subject:

In Shakespeare’s King Lear, Act 3 scene 2, we find one of the earliest usages of the word hurricane in the English language:

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o’ the world!
Crack nature’s molds, all germens spill at once
That make ingrateful man!

Bit of a drama queen, Lear, what with all these apocalyptic fantasies. Speaking of drama queens, how about the opening lines of Walt Whitman’s “With Husky-haughty Lips, O Sea!”:

With husky-haughty lips, O sea!
Where day and night I wend thy surf-beat shore,
Imaging to my sense thy varied strange suggestions,
(I see and plainly list thy talk and conference here,)
Thy troops of white-maned racers racing to the goal,
Thy ample, smiling face, dash’d with the sparkling dimples of the sun,
Thy brooding scowl and murk–thy unloos’d hurricanes,
Thy unsubduedness, caprices, wilfulness

Fanciful stuff. For a less romanticized description, might we suggest the end of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, where a massive hurricane turns Lake Okeechobee into a “monstropolous beast,” a monster that floods the streets and destroys homes. Stay away, Hannah.

Steve Fossett Fan Fiction Contest

Last week, millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett was declared legally dead after having been missing since fall of last year when his single-engine plane disappeared in Nevada. Neither Fossett’s body or his plane were found, but nevertheless, on November 26, 2007 his wife petitioned to have him declared legally dead.


Fossett set 116 records over his lifetime, including feats in ballooning, aviation, and sailing that still stand. His career as an adventurer is so storied and fascinating that we at Biblioklept refuse to believe that Fossett died; in fact, we propose that he’s still alive, in the midst of some new adventure, perhaps of the time-traveling or extra-dimensional exploration variety, no doubt as secret as it is mind-shattering.


What do you think? Take part in Biblioklept’s Steve Fossett Fan Fiction Contest. Where is Fossett now, and what marvelous adventuring is he up to? Entries should be mailed (no attachments, please!) to, or, alternately (preferably) posted in the comments section below. All entries will be considered the owned intellectual property of the original author. The contest is open until a year from today. The winner of the contest, chosen by the Biblioklept and His Esteemed Council, will receive their choice of a dirty postcard or a stolen book, chosen by the Biblioklept.