Attention! The finalists for the 2016 Oddest Book Title of the Year award have been announced — my personal favorite has to be Reading From Behind: A Cultural History of the Anus. Pair with the ever exciting Bad Sex in Fiction award and you’ve got yourself your own little literary Oscars party.
Appearing Elsewhere 1: Be sure to check the Tournament of Books on Monday for Max’s judgment. Which will be the victor, Shadow Country or The Lazarus Project?Appearing Elsewhere 2: Check out Millions contributor Emily’s review of D.J. Taylor’s Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London’s Jazz Age at The Washington Times.Further Reading: Many additions have been made to The Millions’ Collaborative Atlas of Book Stores and Literary Places. Don’t forget to add your own favorite spots.”Inventor Paolo Bizziocchi proposes that it would be easier to read text if it were sloped downhill from left to right.” And he has a patent!Michael Jackson is auctioning off a whole bunch of his possessions April 22-25 in Beverly Hills. The catalogues are entitled King of Pop: A once in a lifetime Auction Featuring the Personal Property of Michael Jackson. Definitely curious.Following up on the D.T. Max profile of David Foster Wallace (on which Garth weighed in), Max has answered some questions at the New Yorker website.The longlist of Orange Prize nominees has been announced and we’re happy to see that debut novelist and Millions Year in Reading contributor V.V. Ganeshananthan is one of them.Book clubs are supposed to be for books, even if you’re in elementary school.
“Grim was the world and grey last night / The moon and stars were fled.” It looks like even J.R.R. Tolkien might have been a an angsty teen. Two previously unseen poems by the legendary author have been found in a forgotten annual printed by a small primary school in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, in 1936. For another Tolkien-related blast from the past, here is W.H. Auden’s review of The Return of the King, book three of the Lord of the Rings series.
“Every one of these books is a herd of animals.” The Atlantic reports that a group of archaeologists and geneticists in the UK have used mere crumbs of parchment to study the DNA of several thousand-year-old illuminated manuscripts, the pages of which were made of cow and sheep skins.
Slang, as readers of Shakespeare know, affects the development of language as much as any genus of terminology. At Salon, Jonathon Green writes about the strange history of English slang, as part of an excerpt from his new book, The Vulgar Tongue. You could also read our own Michael Bourne on the use of “like” in modern English.