New Directions turned 75 yesterday, so here’s a look back on the history of their colophon. In other birthday news, Iris Murdoch was born on this day in 1919, and tomorrow The Catcher in the Rye turns 60.
Recommended Reading: This interview from Full Stop with Lisa Hanawalt, producer and production designer of the Netflix series BoJack Horseman: "We aren’t supposed to openly discuss shitting in polite society, so making artwork that frankly portrays it is titillating. I think it’s called 'desublimation' in fancy art-school terms, but it’s going back to a childish, playing around in our own muck state, and that’s why it’s as fun and appealing as it is repulsive."
"The French writer Marcel Proust paid for glowing reviews of the first volume of his Remembrance of Things Past to be put into newspapers." Letters by Proust, which will be auctioned off at Soethby's in Paris next month, reveal he was willing to pay handsomely for flattering references to his novel. See also: the first entry of The Millions' Hannah Gersen's column, The Proust Book Club.
"Year-end lists are always subjective and incomplete, but they are especially tricky for books. A dedicated film critic can watch every wide release film and a theater critic can go to most every play, but the book critic is faced with an insurmountable mountain of books each year. The sheer number of books is inspiring as a reader, but it can make “best of” lists laughably subjective when the critic has only read a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of books published each year." This might help to explain the logic and intent of our own Year in Reading series, but it also prefaces Electric Literature's list of the top 25 story collections of 2014 (which includes recent Year in Reading alum Phil Klay's Redeployment).
"In his column, Manjoo goes on to call out virtual reality for being 'a lonely, anti-social affair'—but, hey, isn’t that what reading a novel used to be? I mean, before we figured out how to make books ping and arouse competitive instincts by flagging favorite passages of readers who got there before we did. (I don’t mean to harp on Farhad Manjoo or to denigrate his excellent work; his reticence is shared by others in both legacy and new media cautioning against VR.)" It looks like VR is in desperate need of good storytellers.