Before his death of natural causes in 2008, Henry Gustave Molaison had the world’s most famous brain. At 27, Molaison permanently lost the ability to form new memories, which led to him spending the rest of his life in “thirty-second loops of awareness.” In the LRB, Mike Jay reviews a new book on Molaison, Permanent Present Tense.
My favorite part of my apartment is my wall-length bookshelf. When I look at it, I think of all the time I spent reading and accumulating its contents. I feel I’ve earned it, which is why I’m slightly insulted by Juniper Books’ $3,000-$100,000 “collection-development service,” a program designed for “people who want a library but haven’t had the time or inclination to amass a collection of books.”
John Domini reviews Joseph McElroy’s Cannonball in the pages of Bookforum. In our Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview, our own Garth Risk Hallberg wrote that, “this, his first novel in many a moon, concerns the Iraq War, among other things, and it’s hard to think of an author more suited to reimagining the subject.”
Writing for n+1’s City by City series, Moira Donegan remarks on the “self-defeating contradictions” of working at a nonprofit in New Orleans. It’s a town, she writes, where most arrive to either “perform charity or to party,” and where, she feels, “many of the people who … come to help the city [are] also hurting it.” In certain ways, the piece can be read as being in conversation with Duncan Murrell’s 2012 essay for Oxford American about authenticity, preservation, posterity, and the Big Easy.
Recommended Reading: Hannah Rose-Woods on totalitarianism in the wizarding world.
If you missed Apple’s “Education Announcement” last Thursday, you can check out Peter Kafka’s play-by-play coverage of the event for AllThingsD. The whole affair made quite a splash because the biggest publishers in the world today are education publishers. The star of the show was iBooks 2, and it has many people talking: some view it as education publishing’s savior, some fear it, and others think its EULA is downright creepy. At least one person believes the whole idea might’ve been the brain child of a lowly intern. And, finally, what should we make of Steve Jobs’ 1996 admission that “what’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology?”
“‘There’s no success like failure,’ Bob Dylan once sang – but he couldn’t have envisaged the international notoriety that bad art would achieve in the digital age. Mark O’Connell’s Epic Fail gleefully hops genres and centuries in a quest to understand our obsession with lameness. Clever, profound, bitingly funny, it’s a brilliant analysis from one of the smartest new critics around.” — Paul Murray, author of Skippy Dies