“Would I have carried myself with the same swagger, or faced adversity with such feminine resolve, without Albertine as my guide?…I was drawn to a striking, remote face—rendered violet on black—on a dust jacket proclaiming its author ‘a female Genet.’ It cost 99 cents, the price of a grilled cheese and coffee at the Waverly Diner, just across Sixth Avenue. I had a dollar and a subway token, but after reading the first few lines I was smitten—one hunger trumped another and I bought the book.” Patti Smith introduces Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin, recently rereleased by New Directions.
After roughly three years and an astounding 2,373 posts, Nick Moran is handing off his duties on the Curiosities blog. When we re-launched the site in 2009, we had the idea that a faster-paced mini-blog would add a lot to The Millions, giving readers fresh material to check out and give us a more “newsy” feel, but we weren’t able to really fully execute on that idea until Nick came along and took it over. First as an intern, and then later as our Social Media Editor, he created the Curiosities blog’s voice and hammered out a process that subsequent contributors have followed. He has brought a lot of readers to The Millions this way. Nick will, thankfully, be sticking around to continue to oversee our social media efforts, intern program and help with various projects and posts, including our Top Ten lists.
In the world of selling books, it’s not all about the sentences. At Ploughshares, agent Eric Nelson argues: A fresh plot matters and unusual characters do, too. “The most interesting books have characters who do the opposite of what we’d do… Imagine Hamlet, if Hamlet took decisive action. Horror movies wouldn’t exist at all without the idiot who always suggests they split up.”
Chances are that your mental image of Pavlov is that of a man giving commands to a barking dog. However, as a new biography makes clear, the doctor who brought us his very own adjective has a far more complicated legacy. In The New Yorker, Michael Specter writes about the man behind the bell.