“During various periods of my life I have succumbed to the siren call of sleeping pills. It is hard to resist their promise: one tablet, and your night will be purged. Your brain may be in overdrive, its receptors working away, hungrily awaiting more images and information, but like a computer it is forced into another mode. Yet the little white disks with a dent down the middle are no panacea; whenever I take one of these thought guillotines I feel trapped in a grey zone, seesawing between mid and shallow slumber, mind and body dulled but not of their own accord.” A lifelong insomniac recounts her long struggle with the illness.
This morning, the longlist for the 2016 International Dublin Literary Award came out, and the nominees include some familiar names. Year in Reading alumnus Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See (which won this year’s Pulitzer, whom you can learn more about in this essay by our own Michael Bourne) is on there, as is Year in Reading alumnus Michael Cunningham’s The Snow Queen, Year in Reading alumna Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State (reviewed here by Aboubacar Ndiaye), and A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (winner of this year’s Booker Prize).
Recommended Reading: Laura Gianino at The Rumpus on seeing The Boss, Bruce Springsteen: “It felt silly to me, as a Springsteen fan of approximately four hours, to tell Keith that I felt Bruce understood me, too, but I realized somewhere in the middle of the show that Bruce was the same age when writing those songs as Keith and I were as we listened. Maybe I was just caught up in the moment. But if that were true, so was everyone.”
What’s going on in Hong Kong? Last week, a man by the name of Lee Bo became the fifth member of the Hong Kong-based publishing house Mighty Current, which specializes in provocative tomes about Beijing leaders, to vanish mysteriously. A few of those missing have been in sporadic communication with worried family members, letting them know in opaque terms that they are “helping with an investigation.”
One Romanian woman may have committed “a barbarian crime against humanity” by incinerating a collection of seven famous paintings – including Picasso’s “Harlequin Head,” Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge, London,” and Gauguin’s “Girl in Front of Open Window.” Her excuse? It was in order to protect her son – a skilled art thief – from prosecution.