Today in literature: How Bob Dylan became the favorite to win the Nobel Prize for Literature without doing anything, more details on the Jeffrey Eugenides Times Square billboard, and Rod Stewart is writing a memoir and he wants you to know it will be candid.
- If you believe the betting firm Ladbrokes, Bob Dylan is now the favorite to win Nobel Prize for Literature tomorrow. Since the Atlantic Wire first looked at the Ladbrokes board last week, the odds against a Dylan win have shortened from 100-to-1 to 5-to-1 Tuesday afternoon. This is a fun story, but it's likely Dylan's rise is just a magnified version of the natural movement all point spreads and fixed-odds experience as more and more gamblers place their bets. Bookmakers adjust their odds based on the amount of action a bet receives, not who they think the most likely winners are. (For example: the odds of the Detroit Lions winning the Super Bowl are 12-to-1. Before week one of the NFL season, this bet was paying 25-to-1. They've won their four games, which has led to more people taking the bet. Which is why the line moved.) The same thing is happening with Dylan: in a press release issued earlier today, Ladbrokes said 80 percent of the bets the firm logged in a span of 12 hours yesterday were on Dylan. We asked RJ Bell, CEO of the sports betting Web site pregame.com, what usually drives such furious movement. "Public opinion are typically reflected by gradual changes in the odds," he wrote in an email. "Expert opinions are identifiable by extreme changes in the odds - the result of substantial betting driven by an expert's confidence." That holds up when the bet is about football, but nobody nobody really knows how to bet on the Nobel prize. So Ladbrokes spokesman Alex Donohue is technically right when he says "everything now points to Dylan taking the prize," but he had the advantage of being a name people recognized Now that he's moving, there's an impression that he's in the running win. Which might happen, anything's possible, but the actual odds of that are steeper than 5-to-1. [The Guardian]
- Rod Stewart has signed a deal with Random House imprint Crown Archetype to write a memoir. The book is slated to come out next year. Like fellow 2012 rock memoirist Neil Young, Stewart swears he's planning to write an honest, unvarnished account of his personal and professional lives. Because he's Rod Stewart, he goes out of his way in the press release to say he'll be sharing stories involving "socks and knickers under the bed." [GalleyCat]
- We told you yesterday about novelist Jeffrey Eugenides becoming newest and least likely Times Square billboard subject and more details on the picture are trickling in. Apparently Eugenides' wife Karen Yamaguchi was his stylist, which means she deserves the credit for finding the vest that Eugenides should start wearing to all public appearances, because it is now his trademark. Who the squinting, windswept Eugenides looks like is a matter of perception. A Farrar, Straus, and Giroux spokesperson suggested the Marlboro Man, but we see him more as Indiana Jones' globetrotting best friend from the comparative literature department. [The New York Observer]