From the New York Times archives, a 1984 essay “Is Fiction the Art of Living?” by recently announced Nobel Prize winner Mario Varga Llosa: “In fact, novels do lie – they can’t help doing so – but that’s only one part of the story.”
Anne Fernald’s two posts about her grandmother’s editions of Virginia Woolf are a treat.Gwenda Bond of Shaken and Stirred landed on NPR over the weekend to talk about the 100th anniversary of Anne of Green Gables, in honor of which the Modern Library has put out a new edition.The Oxford Project: “In 1984, photographer Peter Feldstein set out to photograph every single resident of his town, Oxford, Iowa.” It’s a neat sounding photo book, reminiscent of La Porte, Indiana.Under 30? Really good at writing book reviews? You should enter VQR’s Young Reviewers Contest.It’s an alarm clock that wakes you up with the voice of Stephen Fry in the character of Jeeves. You can listen to all the recordings at the site. An example: “Let us seize the day and take it roughly from behind… as the Colonel used to say in his unfortunate way.”
It was shocking to find that New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid had died, of an asthma attack of all things, while reporting in Syria, especially when he’s put himself in harm’s way so many other times and emerged unscathed. Tyler Hicks, the Times photographer who was with Shadid when he died and who escorted his body out of Syria was, along with Shadid, among of the four journalists captured and held in Libya less than a year ago in the early days of the uprising there. Shadid’s reporting was brave and essential there and elsewhere. His death comes just weeks before the release of a memoir, House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East.
“The greatest Intelligence Agency use of Twitter that never really happened is @US_CIA, a remarkable account that posted plausible Langley public notices that became noticeably stranger over time. Eventually it was claiming 30% of all CIA employees were LGBT and/or First Nation and tweeting directly to @khamenei_ir, Iran’s ayatollah.” At The Awl, Ken Layne investigates the world of Espionage Twitter.
Jonathan Dent offers a fascinating look at one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most challenging assignments for the Oxford English Dictionary. Apparently as a young philologist, Tolkien was tasked with tracing the etymology of “walrus” – a tricky word “of disputed origin that had all but entirely replaced the earlier English name morse since its first appearance in English in the late 1600s.”
If you enjoyed the profile of Anne Carson in the latest New York Times Magazine – fictitious “ice bats” notwithstanding – you’re going to really love Parul Sehgal and Nathan Huffstutter’s two takes on Red Doc>. The work, Sehgal writes, is “suspended between what it is and what we want it to be.” And also, writes Huffstutter, it’s a work that “courses with a wit shot through with intelligence and humility.”