Jacob Silverman tackles the niceness epidemic besieging literary criticism at the moment. Where have the hatchet jobs gone? Is social media’s “communalism” robbing critics of their fangs? Each time a publication refuses to print a negative review, the act amounts to “a victory for a publicist, but not for readers,” he writes. (Just a few notes: Silverman’s piece is based on a blog post he wrote recently; Emma Straub has responded on her own blog; and, for what it’s worth, our own Michael Bourne’s recent review of Richard Ford’s Canada was pretty toothy.)
Meet the Bosavi woolly rat, a new breed of giant rat recently discovered in the forests of Papua New Guinea. Weighing in at over three pounds and measuring more than three feet long, it’s thought to be the largest known species of rat on the planet.
The devastating images of Syria shot by Franco Pagetti have been collected into a series entitled Veiled Aleppo. Over at The New Republic, Geoff Dyer writes about one of them. It’s an image, Dyer observes, that features “symbols … of the death throes not of a city but of film.”
Now this would be a strange way for an obscure book to become an overnight bestseller. Among The Smoking Gun’s photos of the Tiger Woods crash scene is a shot of a book called Get a Grip on Physics by John Gribbin lying amid the broken glass. Maybe brushing up on physics can help your golf game.