“I was dropping out of college and had begun a novel and returned to New York. A bookstore in Manhattan announced a rare reading and signing by Anthony Burgess, a primary hero of mine at the time, for his autodidact’s erudition and braggadocio, and for how he’d gentrified a number of outre genres just by picking them up and mingling them with his erudition and braggadocio.” At the LARB, Jonathan Lethem remembers a formative reading by the author.
When you think “Franz Kafka,” it typically isn’t his sunny disposition that comes to mind. According to Reiner Stach, this new collection of ephemera, however, seeks to challenge the tired, old conception of Kafka-as-tortured neurotic. Here’s a Millions review of Stach’s twin biographies of Kafka, himself.
In The Atlantic, Johnathan A. Knee writes about how curation and aggregation can be more profitable than content creation. That is the idea behind BookLamp, a new search engine based on books’ content and writing style, not sales data. “At times, being able to ignore the marketing data can be good for the recommendation,” explains CEO Aaron Stanton.
Writing for Vouched Books (of which I’ve raved previously), Tyler Gobble dedicates his “Best Thing I’ve Read This Week” column to Laurie Saurborn Young’s Patriot chapbook. The work collects thirteen poems – each entitled “Patriot” – which “craft as they go a sense of living, having lived, the naming as a startling mechanism to remind just how much there is here, right here, hello.”
Although children’s earliest memories often don’t stay with them, as this new article on Aeon describes, babies form emotional connections and intellectual attitudes that last the rest of their lives. So read to your newborn, according to Jason Boog (Born Reading), even if she doesn’t yet know the words.
New this week is Sarah Vowell’s Unfamiliar Fishes (reviewed here) along with new story collections from E.L. Doctorow (All the Time in the World) and Jim Shepard (You Think That’s Bad). Also new this week is Kate Atkinson’s latest Jackson Brodie mystery Started Early, Took My Dog and Paul McEuen’s debut mixing “science and suspense” Spiral. Out in paperback is Millions Hall of Famer A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.
A number of the best essays from the last year on The Millions have been nominated for the 3 Quarks Daily 2010 Arts & Literature Prize. We need your votes to get these Millions essays through to the next round! Please take a few seconds and vote for your favorite. Then tell your friends and family to vote too!