Boldtype offers up a list of "10 Awesome Books to Give to Your Non-Reading Friends," i.e. eye-candy gift books.
"Good TV is not merely good TV (i.e. better-than-average TV), but TV that is so good it deserves to be taken as seriously as great films and even great Literature (yes, with a capital 'L'). As such, watching Good TV and discussing Good TV are qualitatively different than watching and talking about other kinds of TV. The emergence of Good TV is a rather big deal in the recent history of American culture. It may well be one of the top two or three cultural developments of this still-young century." Todd Hasak-Lowy dissects the TV revolution. (Pair with: our own Michael Bourne on the new age of cable and Broadway.) (h/t The Rumpus)
Take a break from watching the snowboarding and skating at the Winter Olympics, and read some Russian literature instead. At NPR, Andrew D. Kaufman recommends three books to learn more about the Caucasus. For more on Russian literature, read our own Nick Moran's essay on duels in Russian fiction.
In the Chicago Tribune, Julia Keller explains why all the year-end lists are a tiresome exercise: "What annoys and disappoints me, though, is the chilly retrospective nature of such lists. They drain all of the blood from the critic's job. They require a cold, methodical calculation of passions long past. They're about yesterday's yearning. Compiling them is a bit like trying to remember why you used to be in love with so-and-so." (Thanks, Laurie)
Conversational Reading has put together its own "most anticipated" books list that has some overlap with our own. It's also worth noting that the trend of posthumous publication noted in our Most Anticipated introduction, was plumbed with considerably more depth at The Quarterly Conversation last year.
"Let the buppie and the arts section go to hell: Swiss Army Man is a film by which critics ought to judge ourselves. We have seen this movie before, in our dreams, when we were children. Its extraordinary contact with our oldest forms of storytelling seems to have rendered it an unintelligible novelty, but if we can’t see how gracefully everything in it matters to everything else in it — plot to character development to dialogue to music to art direction to setting to acting to cinematography — then there’s something wrong with us." Daniel Radcliffe stars as a semi-animate, gas-filled corpse with amnesia in Swiss Army Man -- a movie about farts. But what else is it about?