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).
On Monday we mentioned that the MTA has started offering free e-books underground as part of its Subway Reads program, but they weren’t the first to make books an integral part of the public transit experience. London’s Books on the Underground was first, but then came a more interesting development in Australia: book ninjas. Books on the Rails is a gonzo experiment started by two Melbourne residents who began releasing free books – actual, paper books – into the wilds of the city’s tram system. About 300 books are currently in circulation in what’s possibly the world’s most open lending library.
The estimable New York Times Magazine profiled Patricia Lockwood this week, and in the process printed the phrase “tit-pics” for probably the first time in the Grey Lady’s history. Lockwood’s name should be no stranger to Millions readers, of course, as I’ve previously steered readers’ attention toward The Poet Laureate of Twitter’s works in the past (such as this one, and this one, and this one, too.) As a bonus, Dwight Garner reviewed her latest collection, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, for the paper as well.
Happy Hunger Games! To celebrate the release of Catching Fire, read Ben Blatt’s textual analysis of the most popular adverbs, adjectives, and sentences used by Suzanne Collins in The Hunger Games trilogy, Stephenie Meyer in Twilight, and J.K. Rowling in the Harry Potter series. Unsurprisingly, the most popular sentence in Twilight is, “I sighed.” We’re sighing, too. Pair with: Our essay on how teen fantasy heroines need to grow up.
Following the news that Beyoncé sampled a TED talk given by Year in Reading contributor Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, Tin House dug up an interview with the author, who says that to this day, when she looks at the manuscript of Americanah, she feels “thrilled and amazed that [she] actually finished writing this.”
“All over the country research libraries are canceling subscriptions to academic journals,” notes Robert Darnton, “because they are caught between decreasing budgets and increasing costs. The logic of the bottom line is inescapable, but there is a higher logic that deserves consideration—namely, that the public should have access to knowledge produced with public funds.”
At 1,700 words, J.K. Rowling’s new “History of the Quidditch World Cup” may not be as daunting a read as J.R.R Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in its appeal to ardent fans. At Slate, a brief look at the Wizarding World’s latest reference book.