This thoroughly entertaining conversation between Robert Birnbaum and Arthur Phillips is not to be missed. Topics include faking Shakespeare, beagles, being anti-social in Brooklyn, pilates, and writing for a living.
Haruki Murakami retired his running shoes to walk to Kobe and rediscover his hometown. “Strictly speaking, it’s not my home town any more. I feel a deep sense of loss at this fact, as if the axis of my memories is faintly, but audibly, creaking within me. It’s a physical sensation,” he writes in an essay for Granta.
Have some fun with this New York specific feature highlighted by Atlas Obscura. The New York Society Library is private member-based library and it has some pretty famous members, going all the way back to Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. Due to the library’s excellent record keeping you can trace these famous members reading histories. “In the early 20th century, Library staff switched from big, blank ledger books to index cards for record keeping. Henceforth they archived cards only for “prominent” members, discarding the rest. The gap is major, but the surviving cards offer a lifetime of book recommendations.”
Someone’s finally done it, and it’s our own Emily St. John Mandel, to boot: over at FiveThirtyEight, Mandel crunches the numbers on books with the word “girl” in the title, concluding that we may not have reached peak girl yet. (Also 65% of the time, the girl in question is actually a woman.) Nonetheless, if you’re looking to go rogue, check out our guide about how to title every book you ever write.
When Damien Searls first read W.G. Sebald, he thought the German writer was uniquely good at factoring historical circumstance into his thinking. Sebald’s unyielding reminders of the horrors of the past were a nice corrective to the feel-good pablums of the ‘90s. But reading Sebald now, Searls thinks something has changed. What happened? The world went online. (Related: Greg Walklin on Sebald’s A Place in the Country.)