Thomas Pynchon’s new novel, Bleeding Edge, which we covered in several Curiosities, is out this week. Also out: Traveling Sprinkler by Nicholson Baker; Pickett’s Charge by Charles McNair; and a new translation of Boccaccio’s Decameron by UT-Austin professor Wayne Rebhorn. (For more on these and other upcoming titles, check out our Great 2013 Second-half Book Preview.)
We’ve covered the Atlantic series By Heart a number of times before. It features notable authors writing about their favorite passages. In the latest edition, Mary-Beth Hughes picks out a paragraph from Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Blue Flower, about a poet who’s trying to cope with grief. Sample quote: “Reading Fitzgerald, I felt it was possible to write as I’d experienced dancing.”
According to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, Americans are reading fewer books than they were back in 2014. A whopping twenty-eight percent of those surveyed reported not having finished even a single book in the past year, though the average number of books read per person last year remained at fourteen. For a little more in moderation lit, here’s an essay from The Millions on reading fewer books.
Every year, for six months, a mysterious Twitter account tweets the Walt Whitman book Leaves of Grass in its entirety one line at a time. At The Atlantic, Rebecca J. Rosen profiles the account, which (to the owner’s bemusement) is popular among Lana Del Rey fans.
We’ve been discussing the changing nature of the English language a lot here this week (from the rise of public English to the acceptance of “like”), but if there is one thing that’s consistent in language, it’s the word “huh.” Linguists have studied 31 languages that all contain the interjection, making it one of the first universal words.
Visual effects virtuoso Ray Harryhausen died this week at the age of 92. Harryhausen was first inspired to take up movie-making when he watched King Kong with his childhood friend Ray Bradbury, and his pioneering career spanned over forty years. Over at Vulture, you can check out a couple of his most well-known scenes. To my mind, though, his best work will always remain Galgo’s creepy, stretch-tastic wizard hand from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.