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Quick! Name a South American writer other than Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Yeah, I couldn’t do it either. But Mario Vargas Llosa‘s name will soon be rolling off our tongues—he’s the recipient of this year’s Nobel Prize in literature. The prolific Peruvian—he’s written more than 30 novels—won the $1.5 million award today. Llosa’s works include Conversation in the CathedralThe Green House, and his breakthrough 1960s novel The Time of The Hero.

Is it just me, or does the 9:30 Club seem to have an unusually high number of sold-out shows? Eight this month alone, including Ratatat tonight, and four already in November. Is it better quality of programming or what?

Confession time! I’m a bit of a gossip hound, but no where near as bad I used to be. Which means I no longer read the New York Post‘s Page Six. So I guess it’s no longer relevant to me that Richard Johnson, the high-profile Page Six columnist, is leaving the Post after 32 years. He’ll stay within Rupert Murdoch‘s family: his new gig will be a digital venture at News Corp.

Did anyone see last night’s poets laureate event at the Library of Congress? Seven of them gathered there last night: Billy Collins, Rita Dove, Daniel Hoffman, Maxine Kumin, Charles Simic, Mark Strand, and Kay Ryan. Ryan Kearney over at TBD describes Collins as “loathed,” but I’m a big fan of the poet’s work. First Page Six, now Billy Collins—I feel like I’m having a very populist day.

So what is going on with Top Chef: Just Desserts? I swear these pastry chefs are insane. There was way more drama in last night’s episode than there’s been in a single episode in any of Top Chef‘s seven seasons. Seth freaks out when he can’t make his own ice cream for the sundae quickfire, experiences a panic attack when arguing with a producer, and is dismissed from the show. Heather C. is given a second lease on life and returns to the show, only to be really ambivalent about the self-described “best thing that ever happened to me.” Heather H. completely freaks out at teammate Morgan after he won the elimination challenge instead of her. And Malika, after cooking her best dessert of the show, volunteers to eliminate herself. Are pastry chefs just crazier than savory chefs? I know some people don’t like interpersonal drama to draw focus from the cooking, but I’ve gotta say, I’m on the edge of my seat to see what happens next.

Photo: danliterature.wordpress.com