Curiosities

June 22, 2015

Fail Again 0

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Having kicked off his career with a book of poetry, it’s not surprising that Ben Lerner is interested in the late Johns Hopkins professor Allen Grossman, who theorized that people dislike poetry because poems are — by definition — failures. In a piece for the LRB, he runs through the implications of Grossman’s theory, touching on poets […]

June 22, 2015

The Summer of Butterflies 1

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In his lifetime, Vladimir Nabokov travelled widely, logging many years each in St. Petersburg, Berlin, and Ithaca, New York, where he wrote Lolita while teaching at Cornell. His peripatetic history explains why few people know he spent a summer in Utah, during which he spent a lot of time chasing butterflies and fishing in the streams. […]

June 21, 2015

Medieval Advice 0

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Need to know how to tell if someone is or is not dead? How to leave a party gracefully? How to avoid the plague? Luckily the writers of the Middle Ages had a how-to book for everything, even if that advice does include killing bed bugs by “Spread[ing] Gun-powder, beaten small, about the crevices of […]

June 21, 2015

How Long? 0

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This week in book-related infographics: a chart of just how long it takes kids to finish popular books. Where the Wild Things Are? 4 minutes. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? 24 hours.

June 20, 2015

A Bookish Father’s Day 0

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Looking for the perfect book for Father’s Day, but didn’t find quite what you were looking for in our list? Lit Hub has some supplemental titles you might be interested in.

June 20, 2015

James Salter (1925-2015) 0

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Writer James Salter died on Friday. We interviewed him in 2012 and he reflected on memory and on his long life as a writer. He said, “Everything you know, nobody else knows, and everything you imagine or see belongs to you alone. What you write comes out of that, both in the trivial and deepest […]

June 19, 2015

Printing Wikipedia 0

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“Half utilitarian data visualization project, half absurdist poetic gesture:” a Brooklyn artist is working to turn all of Wikipedia into a print encyclopedia set numbering some 7,600 volumes. But the best part of the project by far is the titles for those volumes, which include such gems as “Hulk (Aqua Teen Hunger Force) — Humanitarianism […]

June 18, 2015

Poets and Tomatoes 0

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“We are hermits, that is true. We live in tiny rooms, and we stay in those rooms hours upon hours every day, every month, every year. But we also like to walk around and throw ourselves into big crates of tomatoes, and roll around in them, and then get up all tomato-stained.” Poet Laureate Juan […]

June 18, 2015

Big Ideas and Bigger Books 0

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Recommended reading: Electric Literature talks to Neal Stephenson, a writer of “Big Ideas” and even bigger books, whose latest novel Seveneves was reviewed for the Millions by Chris Barsanti just a few weeks ago.

June 17, 2015

Dreamweaver 1

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For the most part, Tolstoy is known as a realist, despite his work’s occasional dips into fancy. Yet the plotlines of his great novels featured long and important dream sequences. In The New York Review of Books, Janet Malcolm argued that Tolstoy was a master of dreams, using Anna Karenina as proof.