Move over, “GIF.” (Or, more accurately: animate yourself away from us in an unending loop.) There’s a new Oxford Dictionaries word of the year. Enter, “selfie,” a word of Australian origin that describes an ostensibly new “digital affair, [that’s actually] a novel iteration of an old form: the self-portrait.” (They even come with overarching themes of mortality.)
The much discussed Fifty Shades of Grey arrives as a paperback today, though one wonders if readers will be as willing to read it if they must shed the privacy of the e-reader. Also out is the gorgeous retrospective, The Art of Daniel Clowes. The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright and MAN Asian Literary Prize winner Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin are new in paperback.
Having kicked off his career with a book of poetry, it’s not surprising that Ben Lerner is interested in the late Johns Hopkins professor Allen Grossman, who theorized that people dislike poetry because poems are -- by definition -- failures. In a piece for the LRB, he runs through the implications of Grossman’s theory, touching on poets as disparate as Shakespeare and William McGonagall. Pair with Kate Angus on why Americans don’t buy poetry books.
Crosswords in print newspapers are declining alongside print newspapers, but there may yet be a promising future in mobile apps.
ICYMI: After Hachette writers banded together behind their publisher (piles of tweets, an author petition (pdf), a perplexing Malcolm Gladwell YouTube clip, and of course our own Edan Lepucki in Stephen Colbert's pre-order campaign), Amazon proposed giving authors "100% of proceeds" from ebooks -- that's including Hachette's share -- while they hashed things out. You gotta admire that gumption. Halfway around the world, a French court order just banned free delivery for discounted book orders--so Amazon now charges one cent. Also: they've got drones. The Times concludes that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
Edith Pearlman has been writing stories for a long time, but it’s only recently that she’s received widespread attention for them, as evidenced by this New Yorker piece on the author by James Wood. In it, Wood writes about the ways in which Pearlman is “a fabulist in realist’s clothing,” among other things. Pair with: Josh Cook on Pearlman’s book Honeydew.