Today in literature: Neil Young is writing an ambitious memoir, Elaine Kaufman's signed books go up for auction, and the beginner's guide to John le Carre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

  • Neil Young is getting in on the rock star memoir game, signing a deal with Penguin imprint Blue Rider Press to write his life story. Tentatively titled Waging Heavy Peace, the books is scheduled for release next fall. According to Blue Rider publisher David Rosenthal, Young isn't lacking for ambition. "[Young's] intention is to cover pretty much everything — growing up, music, life,” Rosenthal said.  [Arts Beat]
  • New York authors and journalists still down about the May closing of Upper East Side literary gathering spot Elaine's should consider dropping by auction house Doyle New York this afternoon and place a bid on one of the nearly 250 lots of art, memorabilia, and general bric-a-brac that proprietress Elaine Kaufman displayed in the restaurant and in her penthouse before her death last year at the age of 81. If $300 seems a bit high for a set of glass stemware from the restaurant's bar, consider bidding some of the more than 300 author-signed books that are hitting the block. With the exception of rare, more expensive items, like Samuel Becket's signed translation of Guillaume Apollinaire's poem "Zone," the books are being auctioned off in lots of about 15 or 20. Authors ranging from Gay Talese to Mary Higgins Clark to Robert Evans to Graydon Carter to Cheryl Tiegs are well-represented. [Doyle via Fine Books Magazine]
  • John le Carre's spy fiction can be slow (very slow), but people who stick with it swear by the man. For those looking for a quick primer before trying to tackle Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy one last time before the new movie version comes out, The Guardian's William Boyd has put together an A-Z guide to the novel's characters and context. If you're still confused--and we are a little bit, mainly on the links between "humane contempt" and double-agents--that's OK. This is still a good place to start.  [The Guardian]