If you’re like me, you thought three quick thoughts when you heard about the Chelyabinsk meteor: 1) I hope everybody is okay; 2) I hope The Possessed author Elif Batuman finds time to write about this; and 3) Thank goodness for Russian dashboard cameras.
Year in Reading alumnus Thomas Mallon’s foreword to the new edition of John O’Hara’s 1940 novel Pal Joey is available in The Paris Review Daily. Mallon predicts that “ O’Hara’s moment for a really breakout revival—outdated enough to be exotic—may at last be upon us.”
No surprise here -- Elena Ferrante fever continues to sweep the literary world. Last week, an Italian historian was forced to deny claims that she was actually the Neapolitan novelist. Now, The Guardian takes a look at the unique history of pseudonyms and posits whether Ferrante's mystery might outlast some famous historical masqueraders. For the unacquainted, here's a quick piece on reading Italy through Ferrante's work.
Among the books hitting shelves this week are Pulitzer winner and New Yorker staffer Louis Menand's The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University and memoirist and poet Nick Flynn's The Ticking is the Bomb. Also new, Melville House is putting out a novella, Union Jack, by Nobel laureate Imre Kertész, and NYRB Classics has published Fortunes of War: The Balkan Trilogy a novel by Olivia Manning based on her time in Eastern Europe during World War II. Rachel Cusk provides an introduction to the edition.
Slate has translated famous first lines of literature into emojis, and they're surprisingly coherent. Pair with Jonathan Russell Clark's essay on opening sentences.