Curiosities

July 16, 2014

“The sanitising effect of augury” 0

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In a time of crisis, any decision is better than no decision at all. That line–credited to Theodore Roosevelt–is pop conventional wisdom. An excellent piece at Aeon explores the full implications of the line, and may just convince you that your next impossible choice should be made by a soothsayer, a lottery, or a flipped coin.

July 16, 2014

The Dungeon Master’s Workshop 0

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Junot Diaz, author of Pulitzer-winning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, started his auspicious career in the most unlikely of imaginary places: crafting stories for his friends in the tabletop roleplay game Dungeons & Dragons.

July 15, 2014

Reading Like the French 0

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“The French government classifies books as an ‘essential good,’ along with electricity, bread and water.” And who could blame them?

July 15, 2014

Society of Authors Speaks Out Against Publishers 0

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The ongoing Hachette vs. Amazon feud has writers and publishers up in arms, but according to the Society of Authors there are no heroes in publishing.

July 15, 2014

Reading in Prison 0

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“[H]is authentic education as a reader began not while he was a history major at N.Y.U. or working at a literary agency in Manhattan but at the Green Haven Correctional Facility, in Stormville, New York. There, he offered, he had read a thousand and forty-six books.” Alex Halberstadt writes about “A Prisoner’s Reading List” for […]

July 15, 2014

Adventures in Publishing 0

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Ted Thompson, whose novel The Land of Steady Habits was released earlier this year, writes for Salon about his experience publishing his first book. Pair with this conversation between our own Bill Morris and Edan Lepucki, who both have novels coming out this month.

July 15, 2014

Biography: The Story of Our Times 0

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“There is one rule [to writing biography] that all who try their hand at it come to know: until the protagonist reveals his or her character—his or her inner self—what the biographer produces is less a life than a report, an autopsy rather than the record of a séance.” David Levering Lewis writes for The […]

July 15, 2014

Tuesday New Release Day: Morris; Backman; Burke; Frank; Rasmussen; Holbert; Harrison; Mapson; Young 2

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Our own Bill Morris has a new novel on shelves this week, which you can learn more about in his recent conversation with our own Edan Lepucki. Also out: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman; Wayfaring Stranger by James Lee Burke; All I Love and Know by Judith Frank; Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen; The Hour […]

July 14, 2014

The aMTrAk Residency 0

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Remember that time Amtrak offered a 10-day train residency, and the internet experienced a collective freakout because trains are literary catnip, and then we found out it was kind of a scam? Barnard Zine Library does, too. In honor of that cultural moment, they recently sponsored an “MTA Residency” that, while less glamorous, has already yielded beautiful work.

July 14, 2014

On “Cool” 0

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Somewhere along the way, the word “cool” became “the most popular slang term of approval in English.” Humanities has a pretty cool (hip, rad, dope, groovy, punk, hot, sweet) theory, tracing it as far back as Zora Neale Hurston’s collection Mules and Men, and the time when “cool was black… cool was jazz.” (Related reading: the most excellent Hepster’s Dictionary (pdf) of 1939 jive talk, […]