Thanks to the Yale Open Courses program, you can watch all 26 of Amy Hungerford’s lectures on “The American Novel Since 1945.” Also from the program, I highly recommend checking out John Rogers’ series of lectures on John Milton and Paradise Lost, as well as Paul H. Fry’s “Introduction to the Theory of Literature.”
One way to go green: the San Francisco Public Library is making library cards from corn.The New York Times mines the data from its integrated dictionary feature to find the words its readers most frequently look up: sui generis, solipsistic, louche…Bill Simmons talks basketball with The New Yorker (via)Inspired by the attention surrounding J.D. Salinger’s lawsuit to block an unauthorized sequel to The Catcher in the Rye, Patrick Brown at Vroman’s has put together an impressive, involved post cataloging and discussing literary remixes.It’s not too late to get in on TMN’s “Infinte Summer,” a summer-long group read of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.For those ebook fans who miss that “new book smell.”Speaking of enhancing ebooks, what happens to book signings in the age of the ebook? Sign the Kindle?!Sonya Chung’s thoughtful take on Dan Baum’s Twitter essay about being fired from The New Yorker, including a comment from Baum himself.Mark Sarvas says don’t fear the Kindle at HuffPoCarolyn Kellogg shares some satire for the bookish set.The Millions’ Collaborative Atlas of Book Stores and Literary Places has now been viewed over 500,000 times!From TMN, “A Terrifically Bad Idea: 10 cafes, 10 macchiatos, one morning, by bike.”High concept fun from The Washington Post: “We asked authors which book character they would like to accompany them for a day on the beach.” (thanks Arna)Wikipedia find of the week: List of child prodigies.Further Reading: Jeff Hobbes’ “Open Letter to Kanye West” generated many supportive comments from other proud readers.
“Without any clear and agreed upon sense for what to be aiming at in a life, people may experience the paralyzing type of indecision depicted by T.S. Eliot in his famously vacillating character Prufrock; or they may feel, like the characters in a Samuel Beckett play, as though they are continuously waiting for something to become clear… or they may feel the kind of “stomach level sadness” that David Foster Wallace described…” Sean D. Kelly navigates past nihilism for the New York Times.
This past Wednesday Tracy K. Smith officially began her term as the new U.S. Poet Laureate. After adding her name to the guest book traditionally signed by poet laureates upon the start of their one year term, she read aloud from previously published poetry collections and introduced new work. Ron Charles from the Washington Post reports “[a]mong her most powerful new pieces were ‘found poems’ constructed from archival letters that African American veterans sent to President Lincoln asking for pensions they were owed.” Smith is the first poet laureate appointed by the new Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden. Stay tuned for her upcoming efforts to engage rural communities in poetry discussions.
A recent survey of 19th century British literature uncovered advertising subtly placed within classic texts by authors like Dickens, Austen, and Thackeray. From Vanity Fair, for example: “‘My sisters say she has diamonds as big as pigeons’ eggs,’ George said, laughing. ‘How they must set off her complexion! Surely she avails herself of Madame A.T. Rowley’s Toilet Mask (or Face Gloves)…’” (via Book Bench)
Albert Uderzo, co-creator of Asterix, announced his retirement yesterday. Since 1977, Uderzo has been the sole author of the popular French comic books, which have sold over 350 million copies worldwide. His successor has yet to be named, though Uderzo said it will be an artist “who has been following us for a long time inside a studio I set up.”