“Books: As with food and clothing, they’re a commodity that elicits status anxiety for many people, particularly the insecure. And wherever there is status anxiety, there are potential minefields. We need to tread with the lightness of meringue.” Henry Alford explains the etiquette of books for The New York Times.
According to a recent survey, Danes are the happiest people in the world. This came as a surprise, writes Mathilde Walter Clark, to most of her fellow Scandinavians, who know very well the unhappier elements of their daily lives. The problem, she suggests, is that words like “happiness,” “ambition” and “contentment” have subtly different meanings in different languages — in other words, happiness in Denmark isn’t the same thing as happiness in America. You could also read our own Emily St. John Mandel’s review of the Danish writer Jonas T. Bengtsson’s A Fairy Tale.
After roughly three years and an astounding 2,373 posts, Nick Moran is handing off his duties on the Curiosities blog. When we re-launched the site in 2009, we had the idea that a faster-paced mini-blog would add a lot to The Millions, giving readers fresh material to check out and give us a more “newsy” feel, but we weren’t able to really fully execute on that idea until Nick came along and took it over. First as an intern, and then later as our Social Media Editor, he created the Curiosities blog’s voice and hammered out a process that subsequent contributors have followed. He has brought a lot of readers to The Millions this way. Nick will, thankfully, be sticking around to continue to oversee our social media efforts, intern program and help with various projects and posts, including our Top Ten lists.
Susannah Hunnewell interviews Michel Houellebecq, France’s controversial literary icon, for The Paris Review’s “The Art of Fiction” series: “There is a need for intensity. From time to time, you have to forsake harmony. You even have to forsake truth. You have to, when you need to, energetically embrace excessive things.”