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For The Brooklyn Rail, John Ashbery answers some questions about writing in French, crushes on boys, and the presence of “it.” As he puts it, “I’m sort of notorious for my use of the pronoun ‘it’ without explaining what it means, which somehow never seemed a problem to me.”
Get to know the ins and outs of bookstore reading etiquette with this helpful guide (featuring none other than Jonathan Franzen) illustrated by Kate Gavino. Gavino, whose book Last Night’s Reading: Illustrated Encounters with Extraordinary Authors is out now, got her start with a wildly successful Tumblr account.
Somewhere along the way, the word “cool” became “the most popular slang term of approval in English.” Humanities has a pretty cool (hip, rad, dope, groovy, punk, hot, sweet) theory, tracing it as far back as Zora Neale Hurston’s collection Mules and Men, and the time when “cool was black… cool was jazz.” (Related reading: the most excellent Hepster’s Dictionary (pdf) of 1939 jive talk, and our own history of the slang word “like.”)
“Echoes are etched into the pages thanks to margin-scrawled notes, a yellowed coffee splatter or sticky peanut-butter-and-jelly fingerprints.” In her project “Expired,” photographer Kerry Mansfield documents the life of library books. We suggest pairing The Guardian‘s gallery of her photos with our own Jacob Lambert‘s “Open Letter to the Person Who Wiped Boogers on My Library Book.”
This may be a temporary thing, but David Foster Wallace’s posthumously published novel The Pale King appears to be shipping now from Amazon, more than two weeks ahead of the official tax day publication date. Update: From the official Pale King Facebook page: the book “doesn’t have a one day laydown: stores can sell it as soon as it’s in their shop.” So looks like the book is now available everywhere. Do you have your copy yet?