“Many students do not rate their knowledge very highly… they often doubt the possibility of mastering both pen and sword. A problem like this one, I realized not long ago, demands some special assistance. Thus, with all the earnest discretion of a Victorian lady in distress, I have appealed to none other than Mr. Sherlock Holmes.” The New Republic posts an essay on teaching Sherlock Holmes at West Point.
We get it, you’re into finance — but what can you tell me about lit crit? This piece from The Atlantic purports to show how literary theory has its place in the world of finance: “The act of imagining the future in finance goes by other names—’vision’ and ‘invention’ are among the more respectable euphemisms—in order to disguise the presence of the non-rational in financial activity. But rarely do scholars explore the role of imagination in economic life systematically. In a realm dominated by economic and financial scholarship that aspires to be ‘scientific,’ fantasy and creativity in envisioning the future are often ignored; they don’t fit well into a model of research whose aim is to reduce unknowns and to eliminate surprises as much as possible.”
Harold and the Purple Crayon is a classic children’s book. Is it also a writing guide? In an essay for Bookslut, Mairead Case explains why she re-reads it whenever she’s finishing a project: the main character’s need to create a room for himself is a corollary to the writing process.
The new year is, of course, a time for resolutions, and Electric Literature has collected literary resolutions from Alexander Chee, Year in Reading alum Emily Gould, Yelena Akhtiorskaya, and many more. Coming out of the hectic holiday season, Jonathan Lee‘s resolution seems particularly apt: “My literary new year’s resolution is to read slower. I want to try and re-discover the kind of reading where you savor every page instead of thinking about unread emails, progress through the book, progress through the to-be-read pile, and the quantity of remaining tea bags in cupboard.”
You could spend a long car ride thinking about about all of the books that are currently outselling Rand Paul’s newest, Our Presidents & Their Prayers: Proclamations of Faith by America’s Leaders. According to data obtained from Nielsen BookScan, Paul’s book has sold less than 500 copies in two weeks. For reference, the end of Michelle Bachmann’s ill-fated 2012 presidential campaign was foreshadowed by her book, Core of Conviction, selling just a few thousand copies in the same time that it has taken Paul’s to sell hundreds.
In literature and film, there are epic heroes, Campbellian heroes, romantic heroes and tragic heroes. Less well-known is the Byronic hero, whose personality is rakish, extravagant and otherwise similar to Lord Byron. At the Ploughshares blog, a literary blueprint of the archetype. You could also read Jennifer Egan on Byron’s Don Juan.
RSVP: We’ve already had several RSVPs for our NYC indie bookstore walking tour. Get all the details via our announcement post.People are still adding to our collaborative literary Atlas. Recent additions include several non-bookstore literary spots in the Midwest, including the Kate Chopin House and the final resting place of William S. Burroughs. The Atlas itself has been viewed over 100,000 times.Panelists at the SXSW “New Think for Old Media” panel face death by a thousand Tweets.Also via Freebird: Iggy Pop explores Michel Houellebecq’s raw power.Mark Grief and Year in Reading contributor Wells Tower give far-ranging interviews in a new online journal, Wag’s ReviewHanif Kureishi discusses life after the Rushdie fatwa.A bibliography of coffee.The editor of John Updike’s book reviews remembers the writer: “he was attentive to everything.”Cathleen Schine admires Zoe Heller’s The Believers.The Village Voice praises Mary Gaitskill’s “ludicrous mastery.”In two long posts, Blographia Literaria offers a thoughtful alternative to our take on The Kindly OnesBen Okri pioneers the Twitter poem.Two books named Brooklyn enter, one book named Brooklyn leaves. (via)Tucker Carlson sounds a dissenting note on Jon Stewart in the wake of the Jim Cramer takedown.Levi Asher and Scott Esposito discuss litblog economics.At The Second Pass, Jon Fasman calls readers’ attention to Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker, echoing John Wray’s Year in Reading contention that “Sometimes, though, a work of originality and genius slips inexplicably through the cracks.”Wray’s Lowboy, meanwhile, got the James Wood treatment at the New Yorker this week.