Jonathan Lethem‘s profile of Geoff Dyer for BOMB Magazine is available online for a limited time only.
We are all by now familiar with J.K. Rowling's elaborate, hand-drawn outlines for the Harry Potter series, but what if all plots could be simplified further? Down to, let's say, graphs? And not even an infinite number of graphs, but just six? The Paris Review considers the work of Matthew Jockers, a literature professor who studies “the relationship between sentiment and plot shape in fiction.”
In his lifetime, Vladimir Nabokov travelled widely, logging many years each in St. Petersburg, Berlin, and Ithaca, New York, where he wrote Lolita while teaching at Cornell. His peripatetic history explains why few people know he spent a summer in Utah, during which he spent a lot of time chasing butterflies and fishing in the streams. In The American Scholar, an excerpt of Nabokov in America, an upcoming book by Richard Roper. You could also read our own Garth Risk Hallberg on Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor.
Stay up until 4am reading that new release? Dread your early alarm after a night spent with a book? Maybe you're just on Flaubert's schedule. Or, if you find it easy to fall asleep before midnight and enjoy early mornings, perhaps you're running on Victor Hugo time. New York Magazine has compiled an infographic of the sleeping habits of geniuses, and the good news is that no matter when you fall asleep and wake up, someone brilliant has more or less kept your same schedule. So take heart, late-night readers and early risers. We're all in good company.
Recommended reading: one essay on George Orwell's stomping grounds on the Scottish island where he wrote 1984 in the throes of a tubercular fever, and another on the tiny Indian town of Motihari where he was born.