Freedom, The Imperfectionists, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet were some of the biggest books of the year, both literally and among our readers. But which one of them could stop a bullet for you? Electric Lit posts a video of the necessary research.
A while back, I linked to a contentious letter between Saul Bellow and Jack Ludwig, written not long after Bellow found out Ludwig was sleeping with his wife. Now, here’s a (somewhat) less angry piece of correspondence, sent from Philip Larkin to Barbara Pym. Sample quote: “Has anyone ever done any work on why memories are always unhappy?”
Remember that time Amtrak offered a 10-day train residency, and the internet experienced a collective freakout because trains are literary catnip, and then we found out it was kind of a scam? Barnard Zine Library does, too. In honor of that cultural moment, they recently sponsored an “MTA Residency” that, while less glamorous, has already yielded beautiful work.
Why innovate when you can just Google and copy? Mark Pagel on the perils of “being domesticated by these great big societal things, such as Facebook and the Internet.”