“There is something ersatz, if not quite fraudulent, about [Alain] de Botton’s entire intellectual enterprise.” At The Los Angeles Review of Books, Lisa Levy throws down the gauntlet.
Recently Salman Rushdie spoke at a conference in Delhi. He had been scheduled to appear with the Pakistani politician Imran Khan, who later pulled out of the event citing the “immeasurable hurt” that The Satanic Verses had done to Muslims. Rushdie, who had earlier been prevented from attending the Jaipur literary festival for fear of his presence inciting a riot, dismissed Khan’s claims: “The chilling effect of violence is very real and it is growing in this country.”
Just because Beowulf‘s influence on Tolkien isn’t news doesn’t mean the publication of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s translation of the epic poem this week isn’t exciting. But while Tolkien’s name alone may be enough for the serious fan, Ethan Gilsdorf at the New York Times has given general readers an introduction to the history of the new translation complete with some insight into Tolkien’s love of the epic poem.
If you’ve ever had a successful friend you secretly envied and maybe even hated, you may be in startlingly good company: a new reading of an old letter between Groucho Marx and T.S. Eliot indicates that the “flamboyant misanthrope and the restrained one” shared exactly this kind of frenemyship. Unrelated: a short recording of Eliot reading “The Naming of Cats.”
“But where Smiley condescended, others were enthralled. Salmon Rushdie waxed lyrical, John Updike found it ‘stunning,’ Susan Sontag hosted him at dinner parties. Gabriel Garcia Marquez dubbed him, simply, ‘the Master’ – high praise from the founder of magical realism, but Kapuściński seemed to one-up Garcia Marquez by injecting magic into real politics, and elucidating thereby the human tension and bewilderment connected to power that traditional journalism left hidden.” Ryszard Kapuściński: novelist? Journalist? Or something else entirely?
Imagine how many volunteer hours you could log if volunteering was as easy as playing a game of FarmVille or watching a video on YouTube. Now it is, thanks to Ben Rigby and the other folks at Sparked (formerly The Extraordinaries). Sparked directs you to challenges suited to your skills and interests submitted by nonprofits around the country and the world who need help with brainstorming, copy editing, IT, translations, marketing, fund-raising, and more. Now you can volunteer without leaving your desk.
A few weeks ago, our own Nick Moran wrote about the closing of Maxwell’s, a Hoboken landmark that doubles as a restaurant and concert space. Now, at The Paris Review Daily, Josh Lieberman goes to the venue’s last Feelies concert, pointing out that “in no way is Maxwell’s an ideal place to see a show, except that it is.”