In his speech at the Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama explained his weariness of campaign advertisements when he said, “If you’re sick of hearing me ‘approve this message,’ believe me, so am I.” These days, those ads are everywhere; it’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed. So as a refresher, consider a journey through elections past via The Living Room Candidate, an online archive of presidential campaign commercials from 1952-2008.
Is envy really the worst form of pettiness, as Kierkegaard suggested? Maybe. The great Roman philosopher Cicero had his own, fairly radical thoughts on envy -- namely, that "compassion and envy are consistent in the same man; for whoever is uneasy at any one’s adversity is also uneasy at another’s prosperity."
New this week: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood; Gold, Fame, Citrus, by Claire Vaye Watkins; Vertigo by Joanna Walsh; Syllabus of Errors by Troy Jollimore; The Good Story by Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee and Arabella Kurtz; I Must Be Living Twice by Eileen Myles; and The Complete Works of Primo Levi. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
"I want to show you our world as it is now: the door, the floor, the water tap and the sink, the garden chair close to the wall beneath the kitchen window, the sun, the water, the trees." Apples, plastic bags, teeth In The Guardian, Karl Ove Knausgaard attempts to explain the world to his unborn baby, object by object. Pair with our review of his epic, My Struggle.
"As a literary symbol portraying man’s tragic nature, is any more compelling than a gun? A gun lets fear become death, quiet desperation become brutality whose fallout others are forced to deal with." Over at The Literary Hub, a list of 10 novels that follow Chekhov's famous dictum, literally. Might we also suggest our own Emily St. John Mandel's The Singer's Gun?