In case you missed it: Google bought Frommer’s last August. Then in April, Google announced that it would stop printing hard-copy guidebooks, so founder Arthur Frommer bought his company back. All of this has led Doug Mack to argue that not only do we need guidebooks, but they should be part of the literary canon. “They also stand out for shaping history, if not always intentionally, because of their authoritative reputation—they have long been the best insight into that which would be otherwise unknown.”
“The late 1920s found him in Hollywood (‘This place is loathsome’) drowning, stingless, in MGM honey, while doing hack work on a silly Marion Davies vehicle. His descriptions of reptilian studio fauna make for delicious reading.” At The Daily Beast, a look at P.G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters.
Featuring missing titles from Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, Roberto Bolaño, Vladimir Nabokov et al., The Missing Books is a project by Scott Esposito to assemble “a curated directory of books that do not exist, but should.” If that puts you in the mood for further Borgesian hijinks, consider Sam Allingham‘s piece about a summer spent cataloguing books in a university library basement.
“The notion that American literature might have an imperial bent—that it might be anything other than a string of lightly co-influential works of ‘imaginative power,’ and might itself reflect our national desire to dominate—is lost on its critics, both right and left.” Jonathan Sturgeon in The Baffler on American exceptionalism and “the imperial self” in fiction, with particular attention paid to the work of two other Jonathans, Franzen and Safran Foer.