On Friday, Tumblr rolled out its new “highlighted post” feature. The move is a new way to monetize the site’s content, but it’s not the only new initiative taken up by the site. As of last week, two writers have been hired by the Tumblr staff to document, well, Tumblr. (And speaking of all of this, you should totally check out my list of the best literary Tumblrs.)
The Toast has compiled a list of 18th century book titles and they’re almost funny enough to make us wish people still wrote books like them. Standout titles include Astonishment!!!, The History Of A Dog. Written By Himself, And Published By A Gentleman Of His Acquaintance. Translated From The French., and the mysterious The Polish Bandit; Or, Who Is My Bride?
There are many things you could call William S. Burroughs, who was born a hundred years ago this month, but Will Self prefers to call him “the original junkie,” a title which reflects the author’s hedonistic background and the strangeness of books like Naked Lunch. Self takes a close look at Burroughs’s novel-cum-memoir, Junky, in The Guardian.
What’s the deal with all the fake birds animated into fantasy and sci-fi films these days? According to Brian Thill, these digital flocks “aren’t just there to make the unreal scenes feel a bit more real” but are rather signifiers of “our oldest and most common metaphor for freedom.” What to make of their ability to evade disaster or succumb to it, however, is another story entirely.
Here are the first lines of the new David Mitchell novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, forthcoming in July: “‘Miss Kawasemi?’ Orito kneels on a stale and sticky futon. ‘Can you hear me?’ In the rice paddy beyond the garden, a cacophony of frogs detonates. Orito dabs the concubine’s sweat-drenched face with a damp cloth.”
You may have read our review of Kazuo Ishiguro’s new novel The Buried Giant. You may also have read our own Mark O’Connell’s review at Slate. For another opinion, you could read James Wood, who writes about Ishiguro’s “prose of provoking equilibrium” in the latest New Yorker.