Do you have 153 hours to kill? Do you love long French masterworks? If so, the folks at Naxos AudioBooks might have something up your alley. At 120-discs, publisher Nicolas Soames believes his company’s unabridged audiobook for Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past might just be the longest audiobook in existence. (Note: that means you’d still have 23 hours of the audiobook left after making this drive around the country.)
“With thirteen other diners, the two professors of English first prepared and then made their way through eight courses, including beef broth, haddock, steak, mutton, chicken, and chocolate profiteroles….The dinner was a recreation of one eaten 132 years earlier, in one of England’s grandest country houses. Among the guests at this first dinner was George Scharf, founding director of the National Portrait Gallery in London, a man not especially famous in his own day and virtually unknown in ours.” Love Among the Archives brings us into the world of George Scharf, a bachelor affectionately deemed “The Most Boring Man in the World.”
We like big books and we cannot lie. But are books just continuing to get longer and longer? A new survey of bestsellers has concluded that the average book is now 25% bigger than its counterpart fifteen years ago. The Guardian investigates. Mark O’Connell at The Millions has his own theory about long books.
In case you missed it, this past weekend The New York Review of Books likely outed the author who’s been writing under the nom de plume of Elena Ferrante. Condemnation was fast and furious, including pieces by n+1 and this fantastic Twitter thread by critic Lili Loofbourow. We join the chorus of voices who would rather direct the attention back to Ferrante’s work. Might we suggest starting with this piece about The Neapolitan Quartet‘s subversive power?
“How are their vacations? Do they inspire envy in a way that’s beguiling, or merely crass? Are they eating in the right places?” In the past year, 30 billion photographs were uploaded to Instagram; 80 million go up every day. On the iPhone as camera lucida.
Related: the pornification of food.
“It may be true… that the internet will turn out to be ‘a giant empathy machine.’ And yet, as any reader knows, we’ve already had one for centuries.” Drew Calvert reviews The Novel: A Biography for the Los Angeles Review of Books and provides an argument for the novel in the digital age.