At The Rumpus, a new piece by Emily Rapp, who details the effect her son’s terminal illness had on her relationships with others.
Another bumper crop of books this week is led by J.K Rowling's post-Potter effort, The Casual Vacancy is on shelves, as are May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes, Canvas by Benjamin Stein, Panorama City by Antoine Wilson, Sutton by J.R. Moehringer, Tarun J. Tejpal's debut The Story of my Assassins. On the non-fiction side, Nate Silver's long-awaited The Signal and the Noise is here, as is Neil Young's memoir Waging Heavy Peace. New in paperback: John Warner's Funny Man (the edition includes an essay by Warner that ran on The Millions) and Emma Donoghue's blockbuster The Room.
Amazon announced a new crop of digital reading devices today - bringing their lineup to seven in total. The new $119 Kindle Paperwhite features an "ambient light" display, an eight-week battery life, and adjustable fonts; the 3G version will retail for $179. A new Kindle Fire HD starts at $199 -- and one with an 8.9" display starts at $299. Meanwhile the standard Kindle has dropped in price to $69, and the standard Kindle Fire is down to $159. Additionally, Jeff Bezos announced the debut of a new $1.99 Kindle Serials program: customers can buy a serial once, and seamlessly receive all future installments as they come out. The full rundown of announcements (including this mind-blowing chart) can be found on The Verge's liveblog.
Symmetry’s addictive. Beethoven sought it in the order of chords, Einstein in the logic of theory. Countless writers, too, have sought its imprint in the perfect mot juste. In Aeon Magazine, Philip Ball pleads fervently against the pursuit of beauty in logic, and logic in beauty. “There’s a reason why our galleries are not, on the whole, filled with paintings of perfect spheres… the search for an ideal, perfect Platonic form of the table amid spirals, hypercubes and pyramids has an air of desperation.”
Recommended Reading: Sarah Gerard records her phone calls with inmate Matthew Seger as he tries to find time to write in prison. “I feel like all of these ideas I have will someday, maybe, be of some use. I don’t want to let any of them go.” We interview Matthew Parker, the author of the graphic memoir, Larceny in My Blood: A Memoir of Heroin, Handcuffs, and Higher Education.
It’s rare that a writer decides his new novel will be his last, but that’s exactly what Michael Faber has done with regards to his latest, which comes out this week. In the Times, he talks with Alexandra Alter about his decision, saying: “I felt that I had one more book in me that could be special and sincere and extraordinary, and that that would be enough.” It’s probably a good time to read our own Bill Morris on the history of literary retirements.