It seems almost silly to mention it since the book’s been on shelves and discussed in the book pages for a couple of weeks now, but the “official” release date of David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King is this Friday. (Our review was published today.) Meghan O’Rourke’s grief memoir The Long Goodbye is out this week. And another look at our culture through the lens of our technology is now out, Steven Levy’s In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives.
Fresh Air’s Terry Gross sits down with Jonathan Franzen to talk about Purity, writing, and the possibility of parenthood. “I’ve always thought of myself as a comic novelist. It’s a tough road to hoe because comedy means light in people’s mind. There was an ambitious part of me that kind of chafed and was secretly relieved when the comedy was overlooked, but at a certain point, it becomes wearing for people not to get the humor.” Pair with our review of the novel.
Good Books is an online book retailer that donates all of its proceeds to Oxfam. It’s also a big fan of trippy literary homage. In a collaboration with two creative studios, and without consulting the Hunter S. Thompson or Franz Kafka estates, the group’s released a promo that draws on some of the most “out-there” elements of both writers.
Hypochondriacs rejoice! A team of scientists from the University of Rochester is working on a “machine-based algorithm” in the same vein as Google Flu Trends—but this time based on Twitter and smart phone data—to predict, with about 90% accuracy, when you’ll next get sick.