The swanky new LA Review of Books website is live, and it’s a multimedia experience worth checking out. Users can select content by genre or article type, and the site’s author, contributor, and staff pages even come with fancy head shots to boot. Be sure to check out their upcoming events page as well.
The novelist Julie Schumacher wrote her latest, Dear Committee Members, entirely in the form of letters of recommendation. The format allowed her to illustrate the travails of a creative writing professor through a medium often ignored in fiction. At The Awl, Jessica Gross and Merve Emre talk about the novel. Pair with: Cathy Day on academia’s novel crisis.
Out this week: Per Petterson's latest to hit American shores is I Curse the River of Time. Also newly released is Mona Simpson's My Hollywood. Mary Roach has another work of quirky non-fiction out, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. Young readers can now get their hands on the seventh book in the Artemis Fowl series, The Atlantis Complex. And grammar mavens have a new edition of the Chicago Manual of Style to add to their reference shelf.
Rita J. King investigates the ways storytelling is being influenced by Twitter. Indeed, she writes that “every five days, a billion tiny stories are generated by people around the world … [and] the tweets are being archived by the Library of Congress as part of the organization’s mission to tell the story of America.”
“Can we ever pinpoint a person’s true identity? … How can we point to something in the world with complete accuracy, without also being meaninglessly redundant? Harpo’s answer to ‘who are you?’ is a visual-gag version of the Buddha’s infuriatingly honest answer to the same question. When asked who he was, he would say, gesturing to himself: I am thathagatha (the one who is like this).” On Groucho Marx, nihilism, and the destruction of comedy over at Slate.
“To age is to understand that the powers of total recovery are gone, are no longer anticipated (except by those who, having lost their marbles, no longer know what to anticipate).” The epistolary legacy of writers such as Samuel Beckett, Saul Bellow, and Elizabeth Bishop offers invaluable insight into the process of growing older, writes Robert Fay for The Atlantic. See also our own Lydia Kiesling on the narrative possibilities of leaked emails.