John Updike's Boyhood Home Is a Real Fixer-Upper

Today in books: How Byliner saves authors from "the dead zone, John Updike's house is for sale on eBay, and David Maraniss is now poking around Barack Obama's college days.

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Today in publishing and literature: Roger Ailes is reportedly writing his memoir, John Updike's house is for sale on eBay, and David Maraniss is now poking around Barack Obama's college days.

  • Byliner claims to have sold more than 100,000 of its e-book singles since launching last spring. We've heard it said that nobody's going to get rich selling their short fiction and long-form journalism for $2.99 a pop, which may be true. But as Byliner founder John Tayner explains in an essay for the new edition of Nieman Reports, the goal of the project wasn' tell stories at what had always been considered a financially akward length." Kindle Singles, Longreads, pick you're poison--what they have in common is that they're just a bit too gangly for much of modern publishing. Byliner wasn't created to cash in on the technology that would give this kind of writing an ideal forum. It was a way for authors to "bring stories that had fallen into the dead zone back to life." Byliner and Kindle Singles and any other e-publishing program that gives authors room to explore to studio space if they so choose is providing a safe port on the island of misfit longform journalism. [Nieman Reports]
  • John Updike's boyhood home in Shillington, Pennsylvania is up for sale on eBay. You've always wanted to own John Updike's boyhood home in Shillington, Pennsylvania, and why shouldn't you? It looks very nice. Four bedrooms, two baths, 2,800 sq-ft, and a fine porch for sitting, once you get rid of that obtrusive awning. Because of the home's literary history and asphalt shingle roof that was placed back in 2005, the opening bid for the property is a hefty $249,000. (As of 2009, a detatched house in Shillington sold for an average price of $158,467.) But again, this is history. And if it's history you feel you must own this very moment, you can Buy It Now for $499,000. But first, a house tour.

Highly quaint! What was Rabbit moping around all the time for. He had a porch.

The original house, before the porch was added on. That's Updike reading. Could he be getting the idea for The Witches of Eastwick at this very moment? Likely not, because that's a very adult story, with mature themes involving lonely people.

So the inside leaves something to be desired. Updike's boyhood room now resembles an extended stay hotel suite that cross-polinated with a vice principal's office. Because it's nothing a few coats of paint, non-green rugs and moratorium on file cabinets couldn't fix.

This is the living room. It also resembles a hotel conference center. And there are no couches in sight. How is your inner-Rabbit supposed to rest on a low back armless office chair? This room needs work. [eBay]

  • Pulitzer Prize winne David Maraniss -- whose largely-positive 1996 Bill Clinton biography First in His Class nonetheless helped cement the idea in the minds of the president's critics that he was an operator and not to be trusted -- has written a book about the current president called Barack Obama: The Story that's due out June 19. According to The Washington Post's Al Kamen, the manuscript has "some particularly good stuff about Obama’s years at Occidental College and in New York" that was obtained  "in the same way Maraniss went several layers deep to get the real story of Clinton during his Georgetown and Oxford years." (Considering that Maraniss confirmed Clinton's claim about not inhaling during his research for First in His Class, GOP operatives should probably rethink that crazy glint in their eye.) [In The Loop]
  • Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy (or The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo books, for the uninitiated) are getting the graphic novel treatment. The Larsson estate stopped its legal wrangling long enough to choose "Glaswegian crime novelist" Denise Mina to adapt the books. Mina, who had her book The End Season of the Wasp shortlisted for the Gold Dagger Award this year, the top prize given out annually by the British Crime Writers Association. Larsson's six novels will be split into six graphic novels. Mina is collaborating with illustrator Leonardo Manco, who she worked with on the Hellblazer comic book series. DC Comics will publish the volumes. [The Guardian]
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.