On this date 109 years ago, a cartoonist first paired the letter “Z” to the act of sleeping, beating out other attempts to write out the sound of slumber such as the tenacious “g-r-r-k-k-k-k” and the elegant “z-z-z-c-r-r-k-k-k-k.”
“At the outset, Nair is in Sierra Leone to keep tabs on his old friend and uses the occasion to practice a little freelance extortion, stealing unspecified multinational secrets on a flash drive and sending them back to his girlfriend in Amsterdam. The first 50 pages are like a Johnsonian take on Graham Greene’s humid morality-play potboilers. Nair keeps meeting shifty European acquaintances and distrusting everything they say.” John Lingan reviews Denis Johnson’s new novel.
If you’re like me, you probably assumed you’d never read the phrase “George Saunders in O, the Oprah Magazine”, but this is where his latest piece has turned up. As part of a creative way of presenting a list of books to read, the author imagines what reading material he’d give to an alien who wants to know what it’s like to be human. For more on his work, go read our own Elizabeth Minkel on his legacy and recent collection.
We know the internet’s been full of buzz following the announcement of Chipotle’s new burrito lit, but the Los Angeles Review of Books’ “Review of Cups” by Maria Bustillos has us laughing. After all, there’s nothing like a timely and slightly irreverent review to legitimize a new genre. And for more fun with reviews, be sure to check out The Millions’ own “Worst Book Review Ever.”
“There’s much to be commended in the work done by FiveThirtyEight, or even Vox,” writes Millions contributor Brian Ted Jones. “But making problems seem smaller then they are is a harm that outweighs all the good.” He goes on to tie together the rise of “explainer” sites, the problem with “hashtag activism,” and also references to Louis C.K., Teju Cole, and Leslie Jamison.
This is supercool: Hyperallergic reports programmer Jamie Zawinski has created a digital rendering of the library of Babel from Jorge Luis Borges’s short story of the same name, which imagines an institution intended to house all potential books. You might also enjoy our 2013 piece about a discovered set of Borges lectures from a class the author taught in Argentina in 1966.