Butterflies were more than just a symbol in Lolita; they were also Vladimir Nabokov’s lifelong passion. At Nautilus, Mary Ellen Hannibal traces Nabokov’s butterfly obsession, which eventually resulted in the writer publishing 18 papers on lepidoptery.
Yesterday, Amazon announced “Kindle Library Lending,” a new feature coming later this year that will allow users to go to their local libraries and “check out” books to their Kindle. The eBooks can be kept for about the same amount of time as a normal library book. The users can take notes in the margin, which, if they decide to buy the book or check it out again, will still be there. Technology!
This essay by Mensah Demary for Electric Literature on Nas and the literary legitimacy of hip-hop is the best thing you’ll read this morning. “Nas is a world-class storyteller and practitioner of the narrative form,” Demary writes, “I don’t understand why there isn’t more discussion around hip-hop’s literary value among today’s millennial-and-boomer intelligentsia.”
Implicit in a lot of the discussions about how negative a book reviewer can be is a question of utility: is a book review an act of public service or a work of art in itself? In the Times, James Parker and Anna Holmes debate the purpose of the review. Sample quote: “I’d argue that a majority of the reading public doesn’t necessarily benefit from the sorts of reviews for which artistry is the point.” You could also read our own Matt Seidel’s hypothetical worst review ever.
In an essay for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Peter Birkenhead goes back to Nabokov‘s Speak, Memory and considers “the way our memories tell themselves to us: in hints, collisions, and rushes, overlapping, upside down, out of order.” Pair with our own Garth Risk Hallberg‘s piece on reading Ada, or Ardor.