Lots and lots of great stories populate Longform‘s “Best of 2011” list.
As previously reported, Haruki Murakami is favored to win the Nobel Prize in Literature seven-to-one. For more on the dubious practice of betting on literary awards, see this interview from last year with an employee of the London-based company responsible for calculating the odds.
“While pressure from Amazon forced Borders out of business in 2011, indie bookstores staged an unexpected comeback. Between 2009 and 2015, the ABA reported a 35% growth in the number of independent booksellers, from 1,651 stores to 2,227.” Professor Ryan Raffaelli read this surprising statistic and decided to study what exactly independent bookstores were doing in order to reinvent themselves and thrive. He found it has to do with indies embracing the three Cs; community, curation and convening. The full report will be released in 2018 but you can glimpse a preview here. Three cheers for indies!
Poet turned playwright Sarah Ruhl’s latest stage production, Dear Elizabeth, is based on the correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. She recently spoke to Ruth Graham about her inspiration, and whether other writers’ letters could be adapted for the stage as well. (As an aside: you really should read The Clean House if you haven’t already.)
As you may have heard from our own Bill Morris, The Canyons, the new movie starring James Deen and Lindsey Lohan, is a bad film that somehow manages to be worth watching anyway. At the LARB, Naomi Fry agrees with this assessment, arguing that the film is important because it “identifies how desperately many of us still want to believe that the larger-than-life, commodified good life is still available to us.”
It’s rare that Warren G. Harding gets much attention these days, which is why it’s all the more interesting that Sadie Stein’s father, when she was growing up, grew fascinated with the single-term president. At the Paris Review Daily, she recounts her family’s visit to Harding’s home.