Over at Salon, Joel Whitney explains how The Paris Review worked with the CIA and “served, in part, as a covert international weapon of soft power.” While the possibility is certainly tantalizing, it’s necessary to read Whitney’s article alongside Carolyn Kellogg’s piece in the LA Times, which notes how “the threads of the article … become unsupportably tenuous” as it carries on.
“We started with just the two of us, and now it’s the largest reading community in the world.” Publishers Weekly interviewed Goodreads founders Otis Chandler and Elizabeth Khuri Chandler about the site they founded 10 years ago, which now boasts 65 million members. Check out our own Edan Lepucki on Goodreads’ humble beginnings.
The Morning News continues its ongoing Reading Roulette series by sharing “A Light Head” by Olga Slavnikova. While the author is a contender for the 2013 Russian Booker Prize, TMN correspondent Elizabeth Kiem doesn’t need to wait to award “best line” to this little ditty: “The Russian dilemma posed by Dostoyevsky—‘Shall I let the world go to hell or skip my tea?’—has been resolved in favor of the tea.”
“AYN: This house was built in 1835 but, as you can see, the antiquated design elements suggest the work of a second-rate architect in love with the past who never had an original thought in his wasted life.” Go check out the newest episode of Ayn Rand’s Objectivist House Hunters at McSweeney’s.
The Mississippi was integral to Mark Twain’s fiction, so David Carkeet traced Twain’s path on the river in the new issue of Smithsonian. “What would Samuel Clemens have made of the Riverwalk? He was a grown child who readily took a God’s-eye view of life on earth. He would have loved it.” Pair with: Our essay on Twain’s travel writing.
What happens when a writer inserts a ghost or monster into a story? At Berfrois, Alexander Stachniak argues that much of our current literature about the uncanny fails to help writers looking to answer this question. (Related: Steve Himmer on his monstrous Mary Poppins dreams.)