Millions favorite J. M. Coetzee analyzes “the angry genius” of Les Murray for The New York Review of Books.
What’s the deal with all the fake birds animated into fantasy and sci-fi films these days? According to Brian Thill, these digital flocks “aren’t just there to make the unreal scenes feel a bit more real” but are rather signifiers of “our oldest and most common metaphor for freedom.” What to make of their ability to evade disaster or succumb to it, however, is another story entirely.
“By the time Mr. Bass bought the building for $8.2 million in 1997, the Strand had become the largest used-book store in the world.” Fred Bass, the owner of the Strand, has died at the age of 89. Bass — who bought used books with panicked fervor, opened up satellite kiosks, and created the fabled literary quiz for prospective employees — turned his father’s used bookstores into a New York City literary landmark.
No matter what you think of the bookish offspring of the OED’s word of the year, you should know that Neil Gaiman gave the term “shelfie” some more press. While moving out of his house, the author took a “tragic shelfie,” aka a picture of his books packed away in boxes. (Related: our own Tess Malone reviewed Gaiman’s latest book.) (h/t The Paris Review)
“The way Vermeer painted this wall is consistent with a photograph. It is not consistent with human vision.” In a fascinating new documentary by Penn and Teller, a digital-graphics artist spent five years building a lens, a room, and a harpsichord to figure out how.