“Since scientific knowledge is still growing by a factor of ten every 50 years, it should not be surprising that lots of facts people learned in school and universities have been overturned and are now out of date,” writes Ronald Bailey in his review of Samuel Arbesman’s The Half-life of Facts.
Once Again, this December we will be hosting our Year in Reading series, and this year’s installment is shaping up to be our most fascinating and star-studded yet. While you wait, enjoy last year’s series all over again, and please consider learning about the five easy (even free!) ways you can support The Millions and our year-end extravaganza this holiday season.
New this week: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng; Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok; The Appetites of Girls by Pamela Moses; Shrink Thyself by the Letterman staff writer Bill Scheft; The Last Taxi Ride by A.X. Ahmad; and the Cambridge University Press edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Taps at Reveille.
Lord Byron is perhaps our most prominent example of an extravagant writer in a bygone age. There’s a reason his antics earned him a popular adjective. However, he’s not the only writer from long ago to live large, as made clear in this New Yorker piece by Elizabeth Kolbert — inspired by the release of two new biographies — that deals with the up-and-down life and reputation of Seneca. Sample quote: “Seneca’s fortune made possible a life style that was lavish by Roman or, for that matter, Hollywood standards.”
At the Los Angeles Times Magazine, the answer to a bad boyfriend is to read a few good novels. Does The Talented Mr. Ripley remind you of your lover?