More amusement has been prompted by The History of Love author Nicole Krauss’s arguably over-the-top blurb for David Grossman’s To the End of the Land: “To read it is to have yourself taken apart, undone, touched at the place of your own essence; it is to be turned back, as if after a long absence, into a human being.” Following Guardian’s subsequent contest for who can write the most absurdly laudatory blurb for a Dan Brown novel, Laura Miller at Salon dissects why author endorsements are so unreliable.
William Stuntz’s book The Collapse of American Criminal Justice investigates “how, over the past 50 years, our criminal justice system had been transformed into an unfair, amoral bureaucracy–one that had given up on the very idea of justice.” Its genesis is worth reading about. So, too, is this related article in the most recent edition of n+1, “Raise the Crime Rate.”
Lolita has been, for decades, a great inspiration to cover designers, and all those great covers inspired architect John Bertram to hold his own cover design contest to see who could best re-imagine Nabokov’s classic. The resulting competition has now inspired a book, coming in August, with a cover by designers Sulki & Min that references a letter Nabokov sent to his American publisher, Walter J. Minton of Putnam, in April 1959 about the cover design for Lolita. “I want pure colors, melting clouds, accurately drawn details, a sunburst above a receding road with the light reflected in furrows and ruts, after rain. And no girls. If we cannot find that kind of artistic and virile painting, let us settle for an immaculate white jacket (rough texture paper instead of the usual glossy kind), with LOLITA in bold black lettering.” More: An interview with Bertram.
Our friend “Tom” finds that music soothes the savage vampire.Joseph O’Neill explores the “wholesome… misanthropy” of Flannery O’Connor.The Nation offers up a depressing assessment of the book business: “It is a confused, confusing and very fluid situation, and no one can predict how books and readers will survive.””Why Donald Duck Is the Jerry Lewis of Germany“NPR talks to the author of the just published biography, Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A Life.Daniel Green launches new online journal Critical Distance.”Will Philadelphia be the place where the American newspaper dies?” (via)The Complete Review considers Bolaño’s Amulet.
“I worry that people in the city where the novel is based will take issue, all kinds of issue, with it. I worry that readers will be like who cares.” Here are all the things you should be worried about while working on a novel, helpfully brought to light by Susannah Felts at The Literary Hub.
“In a bewildering new trend, it is young rationalist bloggers in Bangladesh who have emerged as the primary target of Islamic extremists.” K. Anis Ahmed writes about the brutal murders of bloggers at the front of the secular movement who have demanded punishment for those committing genocide. Pair with an essay from Hasan Altaf about how celebrating literature can be a form a protest.
“There are writers we instinctively, permanently dislike: not only will we never read them, we will quietly relish the not-reading, finding in it a pleasure that can occasionally rival reading itself.” Dan Piepenbring explores the advantages of not reading for the The Paris Review. Pair with our own Sonya Chung’s essay on the art of not finishing books.