Online used book marketplace AbeBooks rounded up the most expensive books sold via its site in October. At the top is a collection of Scottish music from 1782 that went for $8,500. Also on the list are some collectible Tolkien and Hemingway. (Thanks, Laurie)
Part Into the Wild, part Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Howard Axelrod’s The Point of Vanishing is the story of his two years spent in profound solitude in the Vermont wilderness. Called “torture” by prison rights activists and “a threat to mental stability” by psychologists, Axelrod’s decision to sequester himself from society was nothing if not extreme. Alexander Supertramp would be proud.
"Art isn’t a footrace. No one comes in first place. Greatness is not a universally agreed-upon value. ... America isn’t one story. It’s a layered and diverse array of identities, individual and collective, forged on contradictory realities that are imbued with and denied privilege and power. Our obsession with the Great American Novel is perhaps evidence of the even greater truth that it’s impossible for one to exist. As Americans, we keep looking anyway." Cheryl Strayed and Adam Kirsch discuss the Great American Novel in this week's New York Times Bookends. For a slightly different take, consider the 9 novels our experts chose as the Greatest American novels, from Moby-Dick to The Godfather.
What if the next crisis to hit the headlines brings an end to the world as we know it? It’s a mind-bending thing to contemplate, but it’s what our own Emily St. John Mandel tackles in Station Eleven, which made it up to the final five of last year’s National Book Awards. On a new episode of The Takeaway, Emily talks about the novel, exploring what’s left when civilization withers away. You could also read our interview with Emily about the book.
Michael Diamond (aka Mike D) and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) have signed on to write a Beastie Boys memoir for Spiegel & Grau. The book is scheduled to publish in 2015. However if you need your Beastie fix now, you can head on over to Brooklyn's Palmetto Playground tomorrow for its renaming ceremony. Its new name? Why, Adam Yauch (MCA) Park, of course.