For 15 years, Dave Eggers' McSweeney's publishing enterprise has helped readers discover all things cool and quirky. On Wednesday, the Harry Ransom Center, the humanities library at the University of Texas, announced that it has acquired the archive of McSweeney's publishing company, which includes McSweeney's books, DVD journal Wholphin, the Believer, the food magazine Lucky Peach and the center's flagship literary journal first published in 1998, Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern.

Arrived in Austin late Saturday night in time for a beautiful, noisy thunderstorm—a sparkling deluge that soaked the parched earth and was welcomed joyously by the grateful natives. It left behind a clear blue sky and a cheerful sun blazing benignly over all these tens of thousands of folks who have flocked to town to grab and probe at the newest and coolest, to wait in line and dash from session to session, to be in the know and be able to say we heard it here first and then to go back to their respective somewheres enriched and inspired.

Truly it is too much to take in at once.

Maybe you’ve noticed that there seem to be a lot of Barnes & Noble superstores closing lately? Not just stores in remote locations (like, say, this one in upstate New York), but in some of the nation’s largest metropolitan shopping areas, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Seattle, Chicago, two stores in Dallas, another in Austin, and Manhattan. And that’s just in the last 30 days or so.

What had been a slow shrinkage as leases ran out turned into an avalanche after Thanksgiving.

The writer Lawrence Wright doesn’t seem at all the sort of person you’d find in public wearing a black cowboy shirt emblazoned with big white buffalos. He’s shy, soft-spoken, a little professorial. But as if he didn’t have enough to do, besides working on three plays simultaneously and getting ready to publish a new book in two weeks, Mr. Wright has been taking piano lessons with Floyd Domino, the two-time Grammy winner, and on a recent Saturday, in his buffalo shirt…

Amid the Arctic flatness of the Minnesota prairie on a bleak December afternoon, author Amanda Hocking's new brick house seems a snug nest of Midwestern warmth.
About 100 miles south of Minneapolis, Austin is most famous as the birthplace of Spam, the canned meat product.

Hocking's mother herds a gaggle of pint-sized, present-laden relatives out the door. Hocking's roommate, Eric Goldman, cleans up, stuffing crumpled wrapping paper into a garbage can. The canine lord of the manor, a regal miniature schnauzer named Elroy, dominates the foyer, resplendent in a Christmas get-up.

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