Curiosities

August 13, 2014

Smiles to tears 0

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Writers of facial stage direction, beware: it is not actually the epitome of irony that smiling and crying can seem so oddly similar. At Aeon, Princeton professor Michael Graziono argues that the seemingly opposite gestures may just share evolutionary origins. (Pair with: Darwinist theories about “the evolution of the novel.”)

August 13, 2014

Stop reading this immediately 0

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“Internet reading takes up my time without my setting that time aside for it, and fills me with images and thoughts that I don’t perceive going in, like radiation… In these online minutes or hours, I drift along with my mouth open, absorbing whatever’s floating by, never chewing or even swallowing, just letting it all […]

August 13, 2014

Meta-spoilers contained within 0

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“To read something before it is accessible to all is both a privilege and an unfair advantage.” Je Banach’s notes on keeping the secrets of the books she writes about (e.g., Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage) are thoughtful, poignant, and tantalizingly spoiler-free.

August 13, 2014

The man Lish fought for 1

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It was the height of the feminist revolution and one man was trying, unsuccessfully, to publish a book about a man amidst a midlife crisis.  25 years later, Esquire editor Gordon Lish read sections of An Armful of Warm Girl in a literary magazine and demanded that Knopf reconsider publishing it (they did). This week over at […]

August 13, 2014

Spoiling Infinite Jest 0

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There are three kinds of readers of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest: those who feel some niggling guilt about that brick on their bookshelf, those who’ve read it (proudly) but secretly may have no idea what happened in that tangled ending, and the people responsible for this excellent infographic. (Complement with cached commentary at Infinite Summer and a guide to the geography of Wallace’s Boston.)

August 12, 2014

Endless Depths 0

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Every so often, a piece comes along that rends the fragile mind, employing a devil’s portion of mundane details to lay bare the inescapable futility of all human endeavor. This is the only rational way to describe this piece at The Awl, which takes the form of a conversation between Karl Ove Knausgaard and True Detective’s Nic Pizzolatto.

August 12, 2014

All Toured Out 0

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There are book tours and then there are book tours. You either get the full-scale, all-expenses-paid treatment from your publisher, or else you get a request to plan it all and pay for it all yourself. In the weeks after his latest novel came out, our own Bill Morris set off on a DIY tour […]

August 12, 2014

“Strings unleashing” 0

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“I have tried them all, The cotton, the nylon, absorbing water, rolling in sand, sticky flakes of broken glass. We all drown in the end.” Anne Sexton’s summer bikini tips.

August 12, 2014

Children of the East 0

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Following its interview with Yelena Akhtiorskaya, Bookforum published its review of the author’s debut novel, Panic in a Suitcase. As in many other books that take place in the post-Cold War age, the plot centers on a group of Ukrainian immigrants, fresh out of the former Soviet Union, who set up new lives in America. However, despite the […]

August 12, 2014

A Side of Poetry 0

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Fifty years ago, Frank O’Hara released Lunch Poems, a collection of remarkably informal poetry that rebuked the more academic verse of his day. As a tribute, Dwight Garner writes about the importance of the book in the Times, arguing that O’Hara’s grasp of the zeitgeist is the reason he appeared on Mad Men. For more on the poet’s legacy, take a look […]