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5 a.m., yesterday morning, I hopped on the computer to check the winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in literature. Seeing Alice Munro’s name warmed my heart. I first read her stories at university. As Peter Englund, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, put it: she has an amazing gift for “fantastic portrayal of human beings.” If you haven’t read her stories, you simply must–chances are good you’ll get more out of a few pages, than many a novel. Here’s a good place to start.

In other news . . .

“Mrs. Fox” by Sarah Hall won the BBC short story prize. It’s the story of a woman who turns into a fox, and you can hear an excerpt, here.

New research shows reading literary fiction improves empathy. Good then–now we have an brilliant excuse to read. Just trying to be a better human being . . .

Speaking of which, The Huff Post lists 10 famous authors who remind us that great authors can also be decent human beings.  Good list, sure, but it seems just the start. To begin, I’d add C.S. Lewis; he liked to give anonymous, monetary gifts to widows. Who would you add?

An author attribution software program, called stylometry, apparently ousted J.K. Rowling as the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling.  Could it also prove Poe’s first published pieces?  We’ll probably never know, but it makes for a good story.

Did you know there’s a secret library in the New York City subway?

Amazon’s German workers are threatening to go on strike near the Christmas holiday. Guess that’s one more reason to do your book shopping at your favorite independent store–or, you know, get your shopping done early.

And don’t miss out on Powell’s sweepstakes–simply sign up for their newsletter, and you could could win 22 signed editions.