My English teacher junior year was from the Coal Region of Pennsylvania, and when he made us read John O'Hara's Appointment in Samarra he spent most of our class discussion time expounding upon the differences between anthracite and bituminous coal, which is about as enthralling as you might expect but is one of the few things that stuck with me from that year (in brief: anthracite is harder), the other things being that there must be no better feeling than getting the fuck out of Pennsylvania and also John O'Hara's Appointment in Samarra is one hell of a great book to read. [...]
Last night publishing giant Farrar, Straus and Giroux hosted people at Lolita, on the Lower East Side, to celebrate the launch of its new monthly online newsletter, Work In Progress. Lolita is small and black, and it intimates nighttime even when the day is still going strong outside. A hung-up canvas has the words "Life is Art" painted over a metropolitan landscape; the guests drank an inordinate amount of rosé. Ryan Chapman-an online marketing manager at FSG and the guy spearheading the new venture-was in the back, toying around on an iPad. His tie was marked by a nifty clip, and he had on thick-rimmed glasses.