“Our bookstores hold a place in our communities where people go to escape their lives, to talk to a real person and just sit in a comfy chair surrounded by personally curated literature. This is what we do, who we are, so let’s make an extra effort to step away from our desks and computers and provide a safe and compassionate place for people to share their anger and grief today.” In the wake of Monday’s tragedy, Boston’s bookstores figure out how to deal. And at The New Yorker, a poem for Boston.
If last year’s The Marriage Plot was too brief a taste of semiotics for you, here’s an interesting essay on Jacques Derrida, “the Samson to tear down the temple of structuralism,” and his seminal 1966 American presentation on “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of Human Sciences.”
Recently, a Czech linguist named Jakob Murian came up with an estimate of the number of languages your average European speaks. The study is complicated, however, by the question of how much you need to know to really understand a given language. At the LRB’s blog, Glen Newey asks: are you fluent when you can order a beer, or when you can translate Virgil? Pair with: Abigail Rasminsky on learning to speak German.