Following a recent essay on the value of ambivalence, our own Mark O’Connell explores the nature of confidence in this week’s New York Times Magazine. Perhaps not surprisingly, he writes that this year’s Web Summit convinced him that tech moguls are congenitally more confident than writers.
Two writers dive deep into David Foster Wallace’s posthumous Pulitzer finalist novel, The Pale King. Seth Colter Walls takes a look at the tax classes the author took before he began writing, and Eliot Caroom checks the facts laid out in Wallace’s portrayal of the IRS. (Related: the opening lines of The Pale King, and a previously unpublished scene as well.)
Today, stuff yourself on envy and/or nostalgia for the NYC literary life. First, whet your appetite on the New Yorker’s gorgeous illustrations of notable bookstores, including one “the size of a luxurious Park Avenue closet.” Continue to a responsible main course essay on Choire Sicha, The Awl, and the Brooklyn loft building where it was founded and resides: a place that is “pleasant” but “a little dumpy, too, because that’s sort of our MO.” For dessert, savor Erin Loeb’s personal essay on leaving New York, and finish with a fittingly varied cheese course of other writers also saying goodbye.
“The past fascinates me obsessively, I suppose, because it’s such a strange phenomenon. The past was the present at some point, and it was just as boring as the present. What makes it so important? What gives it that luminous, exalted quality where it becomes the past?” John Banville addresses these and many other heady questions in his new novel, The Blue Guitar.
Recommended Reading: Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned author Wells Tower journeyed to Tupelo, Mississippi in order to investigate the man who mailed ricin to Barack Obama.
Megaupload’s demise has the internet in an uproar, but the shutdown of the sharing site is unlikely to put a dent in online piracy. Still, sites such as FileSonic, FileServe, and and Uploaded.to have taken matters into their own hands by disabling sharing access in the United States, and MediaFire’s CEO has issued a preemptive statement on the matter. None of this is particularly surprising, though, which is why it’s so refreshing–for all fans of Schadenfreude–to learn that Kim Dotcom, Megaupload’s “Goldfinger”-esque founder, plans on releasing an album in the near future.