The sound level of a typical quiet bedroom measures 30 decibels, but what if you still can’t concentrate on your reading? Well, maybe you should move to Minneapolis and use Steven Orfield’s “anechoic chamber,” which at -9 decibels is officially the quietest room in the world.
“Whatever the [Fulbright] program became,” writes Boston Globe correspondent Sam Lebovic, “it was first conceived as a budget-priced megaphone to transmit American ideas to the world, rather than as a genuine international dialogue.” Indeed, one 1940s newspaper columnist dubbed the program “an ingenious piece of higher mathematics…[that] found a way to finance out of the sale of war junk a worldwide system of American scholarships.”
The book club has turned into a form of protest. Inspired by “The Standing Man,” the Turkish demonstrator who stood for six hours in a silent vigil, protesters are silently standing while reading books. The Al Jazeera photo-essay shows Nietzsche, Camus, and Orwell as popular picks.
At long last Renata Adler’s re-released Speedboat is out from NYRB Classics. The book’s attracted quite a bit of (deserved) pre-release hype. Also out today are a pair of books covered in our Great 2013 Book Preview: Vladimir Nabokov’s The Tragedy of Mr. Morn (no relation to yours truly) and Aleksandar Hemon’s The Book of My Lives. In three days you can get your hands on Kristopher Jansma’s debut novel The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards.
Nicole Krauss has taken her family to deserts in Chile, a lice-infested nursery in Tel Aviv, Sarajevo, Capri, and even the Arctic, but she’s never been on a beach vacation. She tries to relax and searches for the meaning of paradise in Turks and Caicos in her essay for Condé Nast Traveler.