Recommended Reading: Dan Kois on his favorite books of the year. On Alissa Nutting’s Tampa, he writes: “Tampa mixes deadpan social satire, lurid true-crime storytelling, and out-and-out porn into a poisonous stew.”
Congratulations to Millions contributor Lydia Kiesling whose thoughtful essay “Proust’s Arabesk: The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk” was named a finalist for the 3quarksdaily Arts & Literature Prize. And thanks to all the Millions readers who voted for our essays in the first round of the contest.
Peter Mendelsund writes for the Paris Review about how we see, or think we see, fictional characters. “Characters are ciphers. … We are ever reviewing and reconsidering our mental portraits of characters in novels: amending them, backtracking to check on them, updating them when new information arises.”
Polish filmmaker Piotr Dumala spent three years working on his half-hour-long expressionistic adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, and the result is a “destructive animation” that’s at once unnerving and beautiful. However in case you’re more pressed for time, you can also get your animated Russian literature fix by checking out Natalia Berezovaya and Svetlana Petrova’s two-minute-long animation for Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita.
“Too often, being on the left tasks you with a vigilant daily quest to avoid being tagged with snobbery. In sociological living, we place value on those works or groups that seem most likely to force a reevaluation of an exclusive or oppressive order, or an order felt to be oppressive simply because exclusive. And yet despite this perpetual reevaluation of all values, the underlying social order seems unchanged; the sense of it all being a game not only persists, but hardens.” From n + 1, the latest “Intellectual Situation”: “Too Much Sociology.”
“We believe in the digital with abandon. So when something of artisanal quality is placed in our hands, or we see something hanging on a wall drawn by an actual hand, we feel a little shock. We remember how to feel something. Maybe not quite an emotion, but the touch of paper does something to us. We use our senses again.” Celebrating fifty years of the French publisher L’école des Loisirs, Gnaomi Siemens reflects on the power of hand-drawn images and the future of the book.