NABOKV-L post 0018718, Thu, 29 Oct 2009 15:18:15 -0400

Tina Brown's Must-Reads: The Dead And The Undead ...

Tina Brown's Must-Reads: The Dead And The Undead

Jeff Fusco/Getty Images
Tina Brown, founder of the The Daily Beast, discusses her best-selling book, The Diana Chronicles, at a recent event in Philadelphia.

October 29, 2009

On the Internet, it helps to be an omnivorous reader. That's certainly the case for Tina Brown, who scours the Web for articles that combine interesting stories with good writing. In an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep, Brown discusses three recent pieces that caught her eye.

At the top of her list is a kind of news memoir at CNNMoney, as Steven Rattner describes his efforts to save the American car industry from doom in the Obama administration's early months.

"I really enjoyed this piece," Brown said, adding that Rattner, a former journalist, relays "his kind of crazed dismay, really, at everything that he found" at the moribund companies he was expected to bring back to life.

In his article, Rattner explains why the top management at GM was replaced, writing that "any management team that had burned through $21 billion of cash in a year and another $13 billion in the first quarter of 2009 could not be allowed to continue."

"I mean, you know," Brown said — "it's an amazing amount of money."

The Posthumous Nabokov

Next up is an article about author Vladimir Nabokov — and his famously unfinished final novel, The Original of Laura. At the time of his death, the writer, a noted perfectionist, wished that the manuscript be destroyed.

Robert McCrum's article on The Guardian's Web site tells the story of how the novel was saved, and the long process to get it to publication, nearly 20 years after Nabokov's death.

"What is interesting about Nabokov is that he wrote these novels of his on index cards," Brown said. "He would write the themes, the dialogue and the narrative on these cards, and then he would reshuffle them, and kind of deal himself a novel."

After much debate, The Original of Laura is being published in facsimile form — reprinting the original 138 index cards, written in Nabokov's hand.

"I was completely intrigued and fascinated when I read that, of course," Brown said.

Screen Scares From A Master

And just in time for Halloween, Brown has a list of scary movies to see — courtesy of director Martin Scorsese and Brown's own Web site, The Daily Beast.

"I've known Marty for a long time," Brown said, "and whenever he talks about movies, it's totally riveting."

So she asked him to recommend a few horror films for her readers.

Scorsese's list draws upon his encyclopedic knowledge of cinema, complete with annotations and video clips. The Exorcist, The Shining and Psycho are represented, along with far more obscure films. As Brown says, "Most of them I haven't heard of, as a matter of fact."

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