Curiosities

September 27, 2011

Tuesday New Release Day: Ghosh, Banks, Kennedy, La Farge, Warner, Roth, Greenblatt, Orlean, Franzen 1

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It’s a big week for new books. Amitav Ghosh’s River of Smoke is now out, as is Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks, Chango’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes by William Kennedy, Luminous Airplanes by Paul La Farge, and The Funny Man by John Warner, who recently appeared in these pages. Philip Roth’s American Trilogy […]

September 26, 2011

I’ll take “Maps” for a thousand, Alex. 0

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“Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings charts “the wide, weird world of geography” in his latest book Maphead. NPR investigates his process in a “Fresh Air” interview. Scribner Books provides a small sample as well. While discussing the particulars of America’s “Road Geeks,” Jennings makes it clear to this listener that he’d probably be interested in Cynthia […]

September 26, 2011

Appearing Elsewhere 0

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My “10 Best Songs Based on Books” list, from yesterday’s Observer (UK), is up on the Guardian’s website. Obviously it’s not so much the 10 Best as the 10 Best I could think of while writing the list, but that kind of equivocation makes for terribly unsnappy titles.

September 26, 2011

The (Literary and Presidential) Simpsons 0

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On a Venn Diagram, this site would represent the intersection between “The Simpsons” and prominent works of literature. This one would represent the intersection between “The Simpsons” and a former First Lady.

September 26, 2011

“The decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes” 0

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In 1946, George Orwell wrote that political prose was formed “to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

September 26, 2011

Green Whisky 2

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9,000 homes in Scotland are going to be powered by whisky. Could Maker’s Mark be bringing a similar idea to our side of the pond?

September 25, 2011

Tom Bissell Turns Pop 0

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How writer Tom Bissell has pulled up some literary roots (think The Father of All Things) to begin staking out territory in pop culture (Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter).

September 25, 2011

Life and Fate 0

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Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant star in an eight-hour dramatization of Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman. Completed in 1960, and centered around the bloody battle of Stalingrad, the novel was deemed so dangerous by the KGB that the book itself was arrested. BBC’s excited, and all the episodes are available to download.

September 25, 2011

Odd Bits 0

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Pig-blood-flavored ice cream and Crispy Testicles anyone? Jennifer McLagan, Australian-born, Toronto-based author-chef, teaches us how to cook the rest of the animal in her new book, Odd Bits.

September 24, 2011

Betsy Lerner’s “Big” Story 0

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Editor Betsy Lerner (The Forest for the Trees) gives her take on what makes a story “big.”