“Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, and Charles Dickens wrote about opium smoking in their novels. But if you read the way they describe opium smoking, without a doubt these people never saw the real thing. It’s laughable…What we see in movies, even to this day, with the obligatory London opium-smoking scene is complete fiction.” Interview with a modern-day opium addict.
Here's a look at the top-ten most read articles from Electric Literature of 2015, most of which we've already told you about and all of which is worth a revisit. Bonus: here's a Best of Brain Pickings, as well.
To date, Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective created by Agatha Christie, is the only fictional character to get his own obit in the Times. At the LARB, Rumblr editor Molly McArdle looks back on Poirot, the very long-running TV series that ended on November 13th. (h/t The Rumpus)
Google has launched a new search filter to its "advanced search page" that allows people to sort content based on reading level -- basic, intermediate, or advanced. Google thinks The Millions lands in the middle. Search your website using the feature to see how Google rates it. (Disclaimer: we can't see any rhyme or reason to their ratings.) (Update for you visitors from Gawker: If this Google business bores you - and lets be honest, it's not that exciting - stick around and check out our much more scintillating Year in Reading series, featuring Margaret Atwood, John Banville, Sam Lipsyte and all manner of literary luminaries.)
It’s not Christmas, but it’s close. It’s time for the Literary Review’s annual Bad Sex Award Shortlist to be released. This year’s finalists include My Education author Susan Choi and famous folk singer Woody Guthrie among others, and the winner(?) will be announced on December 3rd. (Bonus: Their Twitter account is sharing particularly awful excerpts as well.)
"As I let the shotgun drop the butt hit the bricks and the second shell fired into me..." This excerpt from Homero Airdjis's upcoming The Child Poet, is fraught with elements of tension and discovery. Something of a künstlerroman, the book tracks Airdjis's artistic and poetic development from his boyhood through the present day.