Clive Thompson, of Wired and The New York Times Magazine, owns a digital copy of War and Peace but had his 16,000 words of notes and annotations printed and bound into a physical book. This, he says, may be the way of the future of reading.
Over at Aeon, Jenny Davidson explores what makes a great sentence. As she puts it, “A great sentence makes you want to chew it over slowly in your mouth the first time you read it. A great sentence compels you to rehearse it again in your mind’s ear, and then again later on.” Pair with our own Michael Bourne’s essay on sentence structure for creative writers.
“‘What pleases the PUBLIC is always what’s most banal,’ he wrote to his brother in 1883. But nowadays Van Gogh pleases the public enormously. So has he become banal?” Julian Barnes reflects on Van Gogh’s life and work and how our perception of him has changed over time in a London Review of Books podcast. Interested in contemporary art? Check out our own Bill Morris’s piece on the Whitney Museum.
Know a great title that’s not in our latest Book Preview? Tweet it using the hashtag #otherbooks2015. Coined by Steve Himmer — who’s written for us — the hashtag lets readers suggest noteworthy books that didn’t appear on our list. You can find even more additions in this Metafilter thread.
Ever heard of the Collins Dictionary? It’s the open-source lexicographic collection which apparently accepted “thanx,” but likewise rejected “alleygation” and “mobydickulous.” Consider it the happy medium between The American Heritage and Urban dictionaries.
When, in 1921, a young French writer working as a translator for James Joyce asked the writer to reveal his schema for Ulysses, Joyce balked, saying that “If I gave it all up immediately, I’d lose my immortality.” What he meant, at least in part, is that he wanted his opus to be relevant in perpetuity. At Full-Stop, Dustin Illingworth reads Ulysses on Twitter and asks: can the book survive the transition from the page to social media? Pair with: Josh Cook on The House of Ulysses by Julian Rios.
As a cultural center with a very different makeup than the various home bases of the publishing world, Los Angeles often gets short shrift in discussions of literary cities. At the LARB (naturally), Sarah-Jane Stratford writes about the city’s importance to speculative literature, with an emphasis on the works of Ray Bradbury. Related: Tanjil Rashid on Bradbury’s Middle East connection.