With the full trailer out for the upcoming James Bond release, Skyfall, I have to confess I’m totally obsessing over British spy stuff of late. Luckily there are some supplements to scratch that itch: Tina Rosenberg’s new story for The Atavist, D for Deception, about a real British spy writer who became a spy himself; Bee Wilson’s fascinating review of Ben MacIntyre’s outrageous but true investigation of WWII double agents, Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies; Alexander Cockburn’s recap of the time George Orwell supplied “a list of the names of persons on the left who he deemed security risks” to the IRD; the story of Ernest Hemingway’s lousy espionage; and the video Her Royal Majesty’s recent skydiving escapade with 007.
"Maybe our anointed literary books just have to be earnest ones because earnest ones showcase that soupçon of intelligence. Maybe humor isn’t felt to indicate a genuine commitment to looking smart." Year in Reading alum Lydia Millet talks with Jenny Offill about humor writing, what books are "anointed" as modern classics, and Millet's new book, Mermaids in Paradise.
This just in! Senator Barack Obama has "palled around" with the notorious constitutionalist Richard Posner.The good folks at Hotel St. George Press interview Taryn Simon, the artist behind the brilliant Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar.Jonathan Franzen's remembrance of David Foster Wallace is quite moving......as are the Elizabeth Bishop stanzas that conclude this sterling essay on her lifelong correspondence with Robert Lowell.Alas, the only way to offer you recollections of the late George Plimpton was to link to The Daily Beast.That long profile in Rolling Stone of DFW by David Lipsky that everyone's been talking about is now online.Venerable fishwrap The Christian Science Monitor goes online only with its daily edition.Ten of the best circadian novels: "novels that fit all their action into a single day."Sarah Palin and code-switchingWe may never tire of "This Is Just to Say" parodies.Our revels, not quite ended?: Royal Shakespeareans read celebrity porno dialogue (headphones recommended for those at work).Half a year late, Russia! Magazine has made its translation guide to Russian literature available online.Over at More Intelligent Life, you can find an audio interview with a Booker Prize judge.Finally, MiL's parent publication, The Economist makes its endorsement.