Remembering Christopher Hitchens, George Orwell's Letter, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today's stories:

Christopher Hitchens, journalist, rigorous essayist, and contributing editor for Vanity Fair, died last night at age sixty-two, after a yearlong battle with cancer. (New York Times)

The American Booksellers Association has created an IndieBound Reader™ for use on Apple's handheld devices that enables users to purchase and download e-books directly from independent bookstores. Its reader for the Android market was released earlier this month. (Bookselling This Week)

Meanwhile, GalleyCat lists the best independent bookstores on Twitter.

In this note to his publisher Frederic Warburg, George Orwell discusses his final book, 1984, which Orwell wrote in bed due to declining health. At the end of the letter Orwell takes a friendly jab at Warburg explaining he's reviewing Sartre's latest, which Warburg published: "I think Sartre is a bag of wind and I am going to give him a good boot. Please give everyone my love." (Letters of Note)

Weary of reading end-of-year "best of" lists? Listen instead to Boston public radio's On Point, featuring book critics and authors Laura Miller, David Ulin, and bookseller Becky Anderson speak about their favorites.

And if you're curious as to what they're reading across the pond, the Guardian's Books Podcast recommends which literary books makes great holiday gifts.

Flavorwire showcases some great gift ideas for the book lovers in your life, including a "Bartleby the Scrivener" bag for twelve bucks from Melville House, and a hollow book safe (and flask!) from Etsy.

Not to be outdone, the Los Angeles Times offers its literary gift ideas, featuring an "I read banned books" bracelet from the Getty store.