Online used book marketplace AbeBooks has released its list of the top ten most expensive sales on the site in 2010. A rare and very old Arabic manuscript is in the top slot. Herman Melville also makes a couple of appearances.
In the early eighties, when the writer James Lasdun was working in publishing, he rejected a book by a writer who turned out to be a pen name for Doris Lessing. The fallout? He couldn’t bring himself to read her work until this year. (Related: our own Mark O'Connell's interview with Lasdun about his latest book.)
Did David Foster Wallace predict our anxiety over selfies? At The Wire, Danielle Wiener-Bronner argues that Wallace was prescient in Infinite Jest. Although videophony, his concept of video-chatting, isn't the same thing as a selfie, the paranoia over looking good is strikingly current. "This sort of appearance check was no more resistible than a mirror. But the experience proved almost universally horrifying. People were horrified at how their own faces appeared on a TP screen."
The Rona Jaffe Foundation has announced the six recipients of the 2015 Rona Jaffe Writers’ Awards, which are given annually to emerging women writers. This year's winners are Millions contributor Meehan Crist for nonfiction, Vanessa Hua for fiction, Ashley M. Jones for poetry, Britteney Black Rose Kapri for poetry, Amanda Rea for fiction, and Natalie Haney Tilghman for fiction. Past award winners include Eula Biss, Lan Samantha Chang, Rivka Galchen, Rebecca Lee, ZZ Packer, and Tracy K. Smith.
Need some more Jeanette Winterson in your life? The New Statesman is here with a short story. Titled “Gnomon,” it centers on a medieval blacksmith, Stephen, who’s asked to create his town’s first mechanical clock. Sample quote: “Time is irregular. One hour is not the same length as another.”
Recommended Reading: David Sedaris's essay about his sister Tiffany's suicide, "Now We Are Five," for The New Yorker. "How could anyone purposefully leave us, us, of all people? This is how I thought of it, for though I’ve often lost faith in myself, I’ve never lost it in my family, in my certainty that we are fundamentally better than everyone else."