Dwight Garner’s New York Times piece last weekend, “The Way We Read Now,” was a joy, but I wonder how his opinions might’ve changed had he read this Time article first. Apparently some scientists speculate it’s harder to remember digital content than print.
Another week of literary contests has whittled the Tournament of Books field down to four: Freedom, A Visit From the Goon Squad, Next, and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Today, the team offers more analysis, previewing and recapping. Up next: the semis, the Zombie round, and the grand finale.
Elif Batuman's provocative essay “Get a Real Degree” is up at the London Review of Books: “Despite the recent trend in viewing fiction as a form of empathy training, I’m pretty sure that writing short stories isn’t the most efficient way to combat injustice or oppression.”
Keeping track of the art mentioned in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch is almost as difficult as keeping track of Boris. Fortunately, Laura Petelle made a Pinterest board of all the art in the novel, complete with excerpts. Start reading from the bottom up, and beware of spoilers.
Freudians know that Eros and Thanatos are opposites in the human psyche. The former, the love instinct, pushes us to survive, while the latter, the death instinct, pushes us to destruction. In an essay for Bookslut, Jelena Markovic explores the importance of Thanatos in daily life, using as an example a man she knew with an “instinct for nonexistence.”