In August of 1911, Franz Kafka and his future literary executor Max Brod paid a visit to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa. It was, all told, a weird time to make such a trip, because a week before the two arrived in Paris, crafty thieves abducted the famous painting. So why did they go if there wasn’t a painting to see? To look at the absence, of course. (h/t Arts and Letters Daily)
Book lists galore: The Believer announces its annual book award winner, along with the always eclectic reader survey results; Forty of Nick Hornby’s favorite books – he thinks you’ll like at least a few; You may not be able to register for Zadie Smith’s fiction seminar, but you can read the same books.Rushdie considers the art of the adaptation.And so it came to pass: the “pay what you want” eBook.A comic-book map of New York.Emily Bobrow digs Leanne Shapton’s brains……where certain other reviewers the VQR could name might get hung up on her jacket photo.Whose tweets are these? I think I know.Tom McCarthy and the lovable lads of the International Necronautical Society are at it again.The Reagan diaries offer “scrupulous, concise, often remarkably good reading,” says Open Letters Monthly.Anne Trubek at Good Magazine (and Oberlin College professor!) on “What is a Book?“Paul Maliszewski at Bookslut on “What is a Fake?“New features for the Kindle.We’re digging the cover for Colson Whitehead’s forthcoming novel, Sag Harbor.Wikipedia find of the week: Fakelore: “Fakelore is inauthentic, manufactured folklore presented as if it were genuinely traditional.”Murakami’s uneasy relationship with Japan: “He has been seen, and to some degree positioned himself, as a literary pariah in Japan, in part because of its tepid-to-negative critical reception of his work.”Further reading: Check out the interesting Kindle pro and con in the comments of Max’s Kindle/iPhone post this week; And check out the interesting discussion of the New Yorker’s commitment (or lack thereof) to international literature in the comments of Garth’s DFW post.And finally, a concrete step toward breaking our addiction to foreign oil.