“It’s true that when the world did not end when I predicted it would, at the end of last year, in my Netflix special Ragnarok, I realized a number of things, one of which was that I had not made a lot of professional or creative plans on the contingency that the world would continue. I just figured that it would end.” Greg Hunter talks with John Hodgman at The Rumpus.
Out this week: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson; The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter; Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids, edited by Meghan Daum; At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen; The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak; and The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2015 Book Preview.
“It is a superstitious business—childish, really—the marking, or even the noticing, of anniversaries like these. Such fastening pretends that one day can be like another, pretends that every day is not, ultimately, only its own day, the only version of itself that will ever come. But ‘Daddy’ is itself a poem built on a bedrock of anniversaries.” At The Paris Review Daily, Belinda McKeon marks the birthday of an oft-revered poem.
We are all by now familiar with J.K. Rowling‘s elaborate, hand-drawn outlines for the Harry Potter series, but what if all plots could be simplified further? Down to, let’s say, graphs? And not even an infinite number of graphs, but just six? The Paris Review considers the work of Matthew Jockers, a literature professor who studies “the relationship between sentiment and plot shape in fiction.”
What does it mean to be cool? According to scholar Joel Dinerstein, it means a person who conveys “relaxed intensity.” Using this definition, Dinerstein and Frank Goodyear III curated a photography exhibition of “American Cool” at National Portrait Gallery. The portraits feature everyone from Joan Didion to David Byrne.
Don’t miss Jon Cotner‘s “Poem Forest” at the NY Botanical Gardens Nov 4-5 and Nov 11-12, 12-4:30. It’s a self-guided tour that promises “a new kind of poetry experience, as well as a new kind of walking experience. Poet-walker Jon Cotner has fused lines selected from 2500 years of nature poetry with Thain Forest’s autumnal landscape.” Details at the Poetry Society of America.