Lolita has been, for decades, a great inspiration to cover designers, and all those great covers inspired architect John Bertram to hold his own cover design contest to see who could best re-imagine Nabokov’s classic. The resulting competition has now inspired a book, coming in August, with a cover by designers Sulki & Min that references a letter Nabokov sent to his American publisher, Walter J. Minton of Putnam, in April 1959 about the cover design for Lolita. “I want pure colors, melting clouds, accurately drawn details, a sunburst above a receding road with the light reflected in furrows and ruts, after rain. And no girls. If we cannot find that kind of artistic and virile painting, let us settle for an immaculate white jacket (rough texture paper instead of the usual glossy kind), with LOLITA in bold black lettering.” More: An interview with Bertram.
The weird and fascinating history of books used in swearing-in ceremonies gets its latest entry: the new Ambassador to Switzerland just took the oath on her personal Kindle.
Jonathan Franzen knows a lot about birds. The novelist competed on Jeopardy's "Power Players Week" alongside Chuck Todd and S.E. Cupp as part of a variation on the Celebrity Jeopardy theme. Franzen flubbed a few questions about Shakespeare which, ironically, served to help dispel some of the "old curmudgeon" reputation that has followed him for years. This piece from The Millions on the case for non-Ikea writing in the Age of Franzen might interest you.
Lydia Millet's most recent novel, Magnificence, is the third in a trilogy, and a reminder of what a significant body of work she's been building over the last decade. The Point offers the best overview of that work you're likely to find anywhere. Millet's "equal parts" Ben Marcus and Jonathan Franzen, writes Tom Dibblee, "but really she's her own thing."
Every year brings a fresh new crop of popular books on physics and cosmology, or so they say. 2011 was no exception, featuring books on dark matter and dark energy, the Large Hadron Collider, time, the multiverse, cosmic mortality, a bit of history, biography, and even a celebration of "fringe physics." Here is a list of top ten picks.
The Times is reporting that bestselling author Tom Clancy has died. The Baltimore native, who became famous for writing novels (including The Hunt for Red October and The Sum of All Fears) that inspired blockbuster movies, passed away last night in Johns Hopkins Hospital at the age of 66. (His next book, Command Authority, is planned for publication on December 3.)