We’re digging the cover for Colson Whitehead’s forthcoming novel, Sag Harbor.
Wikipedia find of the week:Fakelore: “Fakelore is inauthentic, manufactured folklore presented as if it were genuinely traditional.”
Murakami’suneasy relationship with Japan: “He has been seen, and to some degree positioned himself, as a literary pariah in Japan, in part because of its tepid-to-negative critical reception of his work.”
Further reading: Check out the interesting Kindle pro and con in the comments of Max’s Kindle/iPhone post this week; And check out the interesting discussion of the New Yorker’s commitment (or lack thereof) to international literature in the comments of Garth’s DFW post.
At the Book Bench, slides of Roland Barthes’ diaries from 1977 in their original, hand-written form: “His brilliance, which indelibly influenced literary theory, semiotics, social theory, and post-structuralism, can make him seem as distant as he is renowned. Yet the diary entries... reveal Barthes to be extraordinarily sensitive and relatable.” (via The Rumpus)
Could James Baldwin be America’s greatest essayist? Ta-Nehisi Coates believes so -- at The Atlantic, he argues that The Fire Next Time shows Baldwin committing “amazing acts of intellectual and emotional courage.” (Related: Buzz Poolepaid tribute to Baldwin back in 2008.)
Google has launched a new search filter to its "advanced search page" that allows people to sort content based on reading level -- basic, intermediate, or advanced. Google thinks The Millions lands in the middle. Search your website using the feature to see how Google rates it. (Disclaimer: we can't see any rhyme or reason to their ratings.) (Update for you visitors from Gawker: If this Google business bores you - and lets be honest, it's not that exciting - stick around and check out our much more scintillating Year in Reading series, featuring Margaret Atwood, John Banville, Sam Lipsyte and all manner of literary luminaries.)
Our Great Second-Half 2014 Book Preview is coming very, very soon. But to warm you up until it finally gets here, you can check out Lev Grossman’s list of “the most likely contenders” for this summer’s “It Book.”