If you read only one take on Rihanna and Chris Brown’s latest musical (and personal) partnership, make it this one by Ann Powers.
New this week: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders; Shadowbahn by Steve Erickson; The Fortunate Ones by Ellen Umansky; All That’s Left to Tell by Daniel Lowe; The Weight of Him by Ethel Rohan; The Dark Flood Rises by Margaret Drabble; and Be My Wolff by Emma Richler. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
If you’re a professor or mentor, it’s the time of year you should expect to be hit up for recommendation letters. You can find inspiration in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s recommendation letter for Walt Whitman, when the latter was seeking government employment despite his controversial poetry. “He is known to me as a man of strong original genius, combining, with marked eccentricities, great powers & valuable traits of character: a self-relying large-hearted man, much beloved by his friends.” Even if the government didn’t like Whitman’s work, we do; read our own Michael Bourne’s essay on the power of Whitman’s poetry.
The latest short by James W. Griffiths, We Were Wanderers On a Prehistoric Earth, is an “ode to the incredible flora and fauna of Malaysia.” The film is accompanied by a passage from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and it’s clear that the author’s description of the Congo applies to Southeast Asia quite easily.
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.
“You’re following some cute glyph about smoking, then one about stationary, then dirty dishes and some mischievous cat—then it’s suddenly ‘Not your father’s safari jacket’ followed by pearl puddles, LIBERATOR dildos, Quaker teens, rehab, troubled teens, and more jackets. It’s like a mini-Buñuel movie! And they expect you to keep following along with Malcolm Gladwell, or whoever it is, over there to the left? Why would you? You want to shout, Hey Malcolm, can you shut up about Twitter and explain the neo-surrealist montage unfolding perversely in the margins?” The strange amalgamation that is the magazine ad column.