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CAPTION… THOMAS PYNCHON’S EVIL TWIN: “Mud-wrestle in my underwear on national TV while holding up a copy of my new book? NO PROBLEMO!”

Credit: New Yorker cartoon by Roz Chast, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Reclusive novelist Thomas Pynchon celebrated his 76th birthday on May 8th, 2013. Since the 1960s, Pynchon has been pretty much a phantom — except in terms of his writing and voiceovers on episodes of The SimpsonsBest known for his novel GRAVITY’S RAINBOW (1973), which won the 1974 National Book Award for Fiction, Pynchon touches on a wide range of subject matter in his work — including history, science, art, and mathematics. Many consider his work difficult, dense, and complex — which is exactly what Pynchon’s fans love about his writing.

Pynchon aficionados have found a way to bring the private author into the open by celebrating “Pynchon in Public Day” on the author’s May 8th birthday.  A recent article by Carolyn Kellogg in the L.A. Times outlines the “rules” for the event — including reading a Pynchon book “in a conspicuously public place.”