This week in palaeontology: “…how did 30-ton animals larger than four-story buildings have sex?”
“What would happen if Donald Rumsfeld, former defense secretary and architect of the war on terror, was abducted at night from his Maryland home, held without charges in his own prison system, denied a trial, and kept in a place where no one could find him, beyond the reach of the law?” That’s the question behind Eric Martin and Stephen Elliott‘s new novel Donald, forthcoming from McSweeny’s.
How do you describe the life and times of John Horne Burns? He was in turn a military intelligence officer, a schoolteacher, a critical darling after he published The Gallery, a pariah after he published anything else, and a gay man in post-WWII America. In characteristic concision, Ernest Hemingway summed the whole thing up thusly: “There was a fellow who wrote a fine book and then a stinking book about a prep school, and then he just blew himself up.”
Gawker.com will end operations next week – and this time it’s for good. Over at the New Yorker, Jia Solentino writes about what made Gawker singular in the online world. “A lively, difficult brand of unevenness was inherent in Gawker’s work, and this still seems to confound people: Why, if it took its work seriously, would it run ‘some of both the best and worst of 21st century journalism,’” as Salon put it, and all under the same name?”
The Orient Express began service on this day in 1883—Paris to Istanbul in 83.5 hours. Agatha Christie may be the most famous writer to have capitalized on the train’s romantic allure, but the list of books begins decades before her (Dracula, for example) and goes for decades after.