Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to take Kathryn Schulz’s book recommendations. However when she refers to something – in this case J.M. Ledgard’s Submergence – as “the best novel I’ve read so far this year,” you really ought to listen up. By the time she invokes Philip Gourevitch, Anne Carson, W. G. Sebald, and John Le Carré in her review of that book, you ought to be reaching for your wallet.
Slate has translated famous first lines of literature into emojis, and they’re surprisingly coherent. Pair with Jonathan Russell Clark‘s essay on opening sentences.
Landays are traditional two-line folk poems, and they are particularly popular among Afghan women these days. Recently Poetry magazine dedicated an issue to the short verses, and Dowser has a behind-the-scenes look at how the issue was put together. Previously, New York Times Magazine caught up with some members of Mirman Baheerm, a women’s literary society based in Kabul.
Jonah Lehrer has resigned from his staff position at the New Yorker, after Tablet Magazine revealed he had fabricated quotes–from Bob Dylan, no less!–in his bestseller Imagine: How Creativity Works, which since has been pulled from the market. Michael C. Moynihan, the journalist who discovered the deception, was interviewed by the Observer, saying he felt “horrible” watching vitriolic reactions pour in. Previously the book saw critique for its loose science in both The New Republic and The Millions.
“[T]here are no creative writing programs in Mexico, so people rely on the infinite patience of their friends.” Valeria Luiselli and Laia Jufresa, longtime readers of each other’s work, in conversation over at BOMB Magazine. See also: our review of Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth.
When did Samuel Beckett’s “fail better” become the motto of Silicon Valley? At Slate, our own Mark O’Connell traces the history of the phrase. “Fail Better, with its TEDishly counterintuitive feel, is the literary takeaway par excellence; it’s usefully suggestive, too, of the corporate propaganda of productivity, with its appeals to ‘think different’ or ‘work smarter’ or ‘just do it.'”