Depending on your perspective, this is either the best or the worst pairing of speaker to content there is: Benedict Cumberbatch reading Kafka’s Metamorphosis for the BBC. As always with Cumberbatch, the reading is a nice complement to our own Elizabeth Minkel on Sherlock.
John Domini reviews Joseph McElroy’s Cannonball in the pages of Bookforum. In our Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview, our own Garth Risk Hallberg wrote that, “this, his first novel in many a moon, concerns the Iraq War, among other things, and it’s hard to think of an author more suited to reimagining the subject.”
Thomas Hardy was one cold dude. Read some of these excerpts from his letters and find your day ruined. Highlights include a critique of a prime minister's funeral and his excitement at the hanging of Elizabeth Martha Brown, accused of killing her husband. Here's a Millions piece on the difficulties of teaching Hardy in 21st-century Florida.
Philip Roth, who just authorized Blake Bailey to be his official biographer, has written an “Open Letter to Wikipedia” wherein the author states his grievance with the site’s entry for his novel The Human Stain. Related: can we just give this dude the Nobel already?
Historian Robert A. Caro, author of The Power Broker, has spent 35 years researching and writing about the life and presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson. Last Tuesday, devoted fans were thrilled to learn that the fourth book in his LBJ saga is due out in May. It will be entitled The Passage of Power, and it will focus on the years between 1958 and 1964.
"[I]t becomes an act of subversion, an act of catharsis." Plougshares has a piece about the Lolita aesthetic on Tumblr. See also: our conversation with John Gall who, as art director for Vintage and Anchor books, was responsible for at least two Lolita covers, not to mention the redesign of the entire Nabokov catalog.