According to Gilles Deleuze, “the lives of philosophers are rarely interesting.” This may have come as a surprise to Jacques Derrida, who once spent a couple days in jail after cops in the Prague airport tried to frame him for smuggling weed. (This incident gets ample coverage in a new biography of the scholar).
Out this week: Lost for Words by Edward St. Aubyn; Another Great Day at Sea by Year in Reading alum Geoff Dyer; Funny Once by Antonya Nelson; Black Lake by Johanna Lane; Closed Doors by Lisa O’Donnell; Decompression by the German writer Juli Zeh; and J.R.R. Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf, published now for the first time. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2014 Book Preview.
Turns out David Sedaris loves The Onion (but who doesn’t, really?). Slate asked more than 30 writers including Junot Díaz, Elif Batuman, Paul Beatty, Miranda July, and Chris Kraus to recommend their favorite funny books. Might we recommend you pair this with our own Jacob Lambert‘s comedic interpretation of Cormac McCarthy?
“Crossover words are a tremendous testament to our awesome ability to shape the language as we use it. To master our fears. To take our terror and use it to build something terrific.” – Arika Okrent writes for The Week about irony, slang and the way language changes.
Recommended listening: Radio Open Source has been broadcasting Anton Chekhov‘s short stories, with voices including Chekhov translator and biographer Rosamund Bartlett, author Andre Dubus of House of Sand and Fog, and numerous other writers, actors, and scholars. “Chekhov makes you want to be a better person. He makes you want to live a better life.” (Unpersuaded? Consider our essays on why reading Chekhov, unlike booze or smokes, will make you a better person in 2014.)