I also read The Unknown Masterpiece by Honore de Balzac. This is a really great short story that was translated by Richard Howard. Four characters are drawn together by their passion for art. One of them - the inspired genius - or the humiliated failure is the center of the work and who has served as an inspiration to artists as varied as Cezanne, Henry James, and Picasso. This short story is a bit of a study of the philosophy behind modern art and is supposed to be read with a rather tragic short story titled Gambara, also by Balzac. I have yet to read this story, but it is on my list of stuff to do.
In other news: President George Bush refuses to rule out pardoning ex-White House aide Lewis Libby, convicted of perjury; eight people arrested in connection with failed car bombings in Glasgow and London all have links with the National Health Service; Jessica Simpson has monster calves; and Slate has a Summer Reading list that I think we should all check out.