The finalists for this year's National Book Award were announced on Thursday. The fiction list includes the debut collection of short stories by Daniyal Mueenuddin and a host of other foreign born talent. Congrats to all.

Let's not forget about Canada. They have book awards as well. Seriously, they can read and write and everything.

A piece on Herta Muller and Hilary Mantel, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Booker Prize last week. I approve of the piece, but can't help objecting to the title. Since when does "high profile" mean low quality? Spoken like an indie music fan.

With electronic advances, will browsing bookstores for books die out? Not if I have anything to say about it. I've been kicked out of a bookstore for too much browsing. True story. Kinda. Okay, so I was sleeping, but I was reading before that.

What makes a good first paragraph? One word: explosions.

Can you tell the prose of Ernest Hemingway apart from that of Dustin Diamond? It's harder than you think! (It's not harder than you think)

Readers of the Rumpus tell us the last book they loved. Why does no one read anything I've ever heard of? I feel so uncultured.

Much to my delight and dismay (delight because it exists, or existed, dismay because I only discovered it after it ended), there was a Monty Python haiku contest. And there's a winner! Then you can read many more here. They're all winners to me.