Senior New York Times book critic Dwight Garner talked with Prospect Magazine about his career and the literary landscape. Of the new online critical publications, which ones did the interviewer single out for compliments? Answer: the LARB and The Millions. (Aw.)
Have you ever wondered what a music note might look like? Now you have, so go and check out Resonantia by artists Jeff Louviere and Vanessa Brown, a work which tests the limits of "cymatics—the patterns that sound waves induce in physical objects." One of Louviere's projects involved photographing the "shapes" of each of the 12 notes. Spoiler alert: G looks like a devil.
A big week for books: Zadie Smith's NW is out (read the first lines), as is Christopher Hitchens's Mortality, a collection of essays penned while he fought cancer (our essay on Hitchens' death) (his collection Arguably is out in paperback today). More new books: Emma Straub's Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, Umberto Eco's essay collection Inventing the Enemy, Davy Rothbart's essay collection My Heart Is an Idiot, Frederick Seidel's poetry collection Nice Weather, documentarian Errol Morris's A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald, and the Navy Seal book about the bin Laden mission. Also, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides is now out in paperback (read Eugenides on the book's genesis), as is Stephen Greenblatt's Pulitzer winner The Swerve.
Boston has announced the country's first "Literary Culture District," marked by memorials to Edgar Allen Poe and Sylvia Plath. It also includes some arguably less interesting sites - the buildings that used to house The Atlantic Monthly and Little, Brown and Company, for example. Caroline O'Donovan writes critically about the new district for The Baffler and concludes that "we’ve allowed glib cultural ideals to occlude economic realities, and tourism tax dollars to triumph over a candid conversation about the origins of art and the sustainability of its production."
“A chemist colleague of mine runs a seminar in which art and science are brought together. And one such session was devoted to olfaction. And there was an olfactory physiologist from Columbia and a friend of his, a parfumier. Forgive my French accent. And the parfumier had made something unlike anything ever encountered on earth. And it had a very strong smell which aroused no associations and could not be compared to anything. One realized this was absolute novelty.” The Rumpus interviews Oliver Sacks about his new book, Hallucinations.
"When you go to Narnia, your worries come with you. Narnia just becomes the place where you work them out and try to resolve them." Lev Grossman writes for The Atlantic about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and why fantasy isn't escapism. Pair with our own Edan Lepucki's review of Grossman's latest novel, The Magician's Land.
We thought we had a better chance of seeing Odin than Neil Gaiman's American Gods on TV, but after the HBO deal fell through, the novel is finally being adapted for the small screen by FremantleMedia. Bonus: Gaiman's Anansi Boys is also being adapted into a BBC miniseries by RED. To brush up on Gaiman's interest in mythology, read our review of The Ocean at the End of the Lane.