52 years since Lolita: The Reader’s Almanac recounts the many publishers who turned down Nabokov’s masterpiece in 1953. From one rejection letter: “I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years.” (via @ElectricLit)
For its November issue, Wired asks guest editor President Obama for a list of his 10 essential books. The magazine estimates that reading all of them, including James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers, and Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, will take only eighty-nine hours.
We give up a book for many reasons: it was too long, the writing was dull, it was written by E.L. James. Goodreads has charted just when and why we abandon books. Catch-22 is the number one abandoned book. (Confession: I didn't finish it either.) Also, see our article on the pressures of finishing novels in the age of literary social media.
“Just as the written word changed the spoken word and the printed word changed the written word, so too will the digital word change the printed word, supplementing but not replacing the earlier forms of information technology.”
A designer from Copenhagen, Philipp Meyer (not the novelist), has created the first comic book for the blind. “Most of the tactile material that is available for blind people is very information dense. It’s always about information and not often about art,” he says.
Alexander Chee has a stunning new story in Guernica. He writes, "I wanted to eat and so I learned to sing...It took more than a witch to make a singer out of me." Pair with Claire Cameron’s Millions interview with the author about his new novel, The Queen of the Night.
"When someone asks me how I know someone and I say 'the Internet,' there is often a subtle pause, as if I had revealed we’d met through a benign but vaguely kinky hobby, like glassblowing class, maybe. The first generation of digital natives are coming of age, but two strangers meeting online is still suspicious..." Ah, the halcyon days of 2004 and internet anonymity.