You should check out George Saunders’s “Liner Notes” piece about “2776: A Musical Journey Through America’s Past, Present & Future,” which is set to accompany a forthcoming musical-comedy album from Patton Oswalt, Aubrey Plaza, Ira Glass, and Yo La Tengo, among others. If that hasn’t sold you, consider the fact that Saunders’s piece contains this line: “Truth be told, there were a number of regrettable omissions. Beyoncé and Jay Z’s piece ‘Bomber’ had to be left off the album. (‘Driver of this plane, this / B-52 on the way to Nagasaki / Stuff your ears with cotton and / Close those eyes / Me and my man are about to do it all over this / Here bomb’).”
N+1 takes the brave step of making all more of its content available online, at a snazzily updated website. You might start with Mark McGurl‘s knockout piece on Zombie novels, a fitting companion to our own Emily W.’s recent work on vampires. Remember, though: subscribing “is the right thing to do.”
“Nigeria did fracture once, however, and it is this story that Chinua Achebe, a giant of African letters, tells. His memoir of the moment describes when the country, yoked together artificially by British colonizers, split apart at a cost of more than a million lives.” The New York Times Book Review on the writer’s There Was A Country.
“I can’t remember another single work of art ever having had that immediate and powerful an impact, which of course makes the experience quite impossible to describe. As I experienced it, it drove me out of my wretched mind … I do know that I knew immediately that my sense of what science fiction could be had been permanently altered.” William Gibson on having his world rocked (and artistic sensibilities altered) by Chris Marker’s 1962 short film La Jetée.
Meet Ant-Roach, an inflatable clackety six-legged robot with a protruding proboscis whose goal is to demonstrate the high strength-to-weight ratios of inflatable platforms. Can we say kid’s birthday parties?
Caitlin Flanagan’s long Atlantic piece on Joan Didion has sparked a lot of conversation. Among the article’s contentious lines: “to really love Joan Didion … you have to be female.”
Out this week: The Devil in Montmartre by Gary Inbinder; The Emperor of Ice Cream by Dan Gunn; Deeds of Darkness by Edward Marston; and The Cat and the Moon and Other Cat Poems, chosen by the British Library. For more on these and other recent titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
At Variety‘s blog, news that Steven Speilberg has signed on to his next project: A remake of Harvey, the Pulitzer-winning 1944 play and beloved 1950 Jimmy Stewart movie about a man, Elwood P. Dowd, and his friendship with an invisible giant rabbit.