“To me a book is not just a particular file. It’s connected with personhood. Books are really, really hard to write. They represent a kind of a summit of grappling with what one really has to say. And what I’m concerned with is when Silicon Valley looks at books, they often think of them as really differently as just data points that you can mush together. They’re divorcing books from their role in personhood.” Digital pioneer and theorist Jaron Lanier fears that the Internet might be destroying not just literature, but also the middle class.
Ever since Pulphead, we can’t get enough of John Jeremiah Sullivan, so we’re happy to hear he’s at work on his next book, The Prime Minister of Paradise. Sullivan will tell the story of Christian Priber, a German American who tried to establish a utopia in 18th century South Carolina. “This man, he really represented the height of the enlightenment at the time,” Sullivan said during a recent interview at Notre Dame. No word on an official release date yet, but it’s already being optioned for film by Scott Rudin.
Whoever decided to sign Noah Baumbach to adapt Claire Messud‘s The Emperor’s Children for the screen has a good feel for the material (Keira Knightley and Eric Bana are also attached). One kind of has to wonder about Richard Gere, though…the Murray Thwaite role is clearly destined for Brian Cox, or vice versa.
“I hadn’t gone back in time, but in a sense Rome had come forward, by insidious and sly degrees, under new names, hidden by the flak talk and phony obscurations, at last into our world again.” Whatever you say, Philip. Was Philip K. Dick a mystic or was he just a madman?
“I am not at all sure—convinced, certain, persuaded—that creative-writing courses are a good idea unless they prevent people from writing sentences like this one, where adjectives—useful, helpful, intensely descriptive words—are stacked upon one another as Pelion used to be piled upon Ossa.” Alexander McCall Smith on the dangers of overwriting.