If you’re looking for some midweek longreads, here are two excellent profile pieces: Emily Nussbaum‘s unabashed enthusiasm for Lena Dunham as HBO’s Girls gears up for release, and Adam Sternbergh on Mark Leyner, whose The Sugar Frosted Nutsack is out today.
Biographer and novelist Penelope Fitzgerald of the Booker Prized novel Offshore, was born on this day in 1916. Ranked twenty-third on the London Times 2008 list of “Britain’s Fifty Greatest Writers Since WWII,” Fitzgerald didn’t begin her twenty-year writing career until age fifty-eight. Can we say Post-40 Bloomer?
In a long tradition of online experimentation, Amazon has now started including something called “Shopping-enabled Wikipedia Pages” in its internal search results (see the second result here). Now you can view a copy of Wikipedia pages for authors like David Foster Wallace, J.K. Rowling, Jonathan Franzen, and probably thousands of others. How can Amazon do this? Wikipedia pages are free for anyone to reuse for almost any purpose, so long as the license info is displayed. Why is Amazon doing this? It wants free content that it can monetize.
“In his column, Manjoo goes on to call out virtual reality for being ‘a lonely, anti-social affair’—but, hey, isn’t that what reading a novel used to be? I mean, before we figured out how to make books ping and arouse competitive instincts by flagging favorite passages of readers who got there before we did. (I don’t mean to harp on Farhad Manjoo or to denigrate his excellent work; his reticence is shared by others in both legacy and new media cautioning against VR.)” It looks like VR is in desperate need of good storytellers.
New out this week is Gryphon, Charles Baxter’s new collection of stories. Joseph McElroy also has a new collection of stories out, Night Soul. The latest McSweeney’s (featuring that fragment from an abandoned novel by Michael Chabon) is now available, and new in paperback is Peter Carey’s Parrot and Olivier in America. Many more new books to look forward to, of course, in our massive preview published last week.