It’s a big week for new books. Amitav Ghosh’s River of Smoke is now out, as is Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks, Chango’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes by William Kennedy, Luminous Airplanes by Paul La Farge, and The Funny Man by John Warner, who recently appeared in these pages. Philip Roth’s American Trilogy is getting the Library of America treatment. (Capsule previews of all of the preceding titles are available here, incidentally). New in non-fiction is Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve: How the World Became Modern and Susan Orlean’s Rin Tin Tin. And out in paperback: none other than Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom.
Now that classic sci-fi mag Omni has risen from the Hades of publishing, editors are combing its massive archives in search of material to republish. Among that material, it turns out, are drawings of Dune homeworld Arrakis — drawings that happen to be endorsed by none other than Frank Herbert himself.
Here are the first lines of some wonderful short stories from Bukowksi, Kafka, and Barthelme illustrated with simple 8 bit images. And here are eleven American movie posters rendered by artist Murat Palta in the style of classic Ottoman art. I especially dig the one based on Scarface.
As you may have heard, Twitter went public last week, which means a lot of people are trying to figure out just what its IPO means for social media. Over at n+1, Benjamin Kunkel proposes that social media, by its very nature, cannot be profitable, and thus should be administered by the state as a public good.
Joseph L. Badaracco has been assigning works of literature to his business ethics students at Harvard in order to “help [them] develop literature skills.” The Questions of Character author believes, “literature lets you see leaders and others from the inside. You share the sense of what they’re thinking and feeling.”
Jonathan Franzen’s 2011 Kenyon commencement speech, published this weekend in the New York Times, covers love, consumerism, and narcissism in the digital age. If you’re concerned with critical reception, looks like you’re not a creator of “serious art and literature,” in Franzen’s eyes.
The Social Network writer Aaron Sorkin has signed on to adapt a biopic about Steve Jobs (not to be confused with the Ashton Kutcher one) which will be based on Walter Isaacson’s biography of the same name. Meanwhile, as the news was announced, Sorkin gave a memorable commencement address at Syracuse University.