“I took a ride (on an elephant); but it was by request—I did not ask for it, and didn’t want it; but I took it, because otherwise they would have thought I was afraid, which I was.” Mark Twain, the consummate American, travelled the world in style–despite having almost no money. Allow me to direct your attention to this complementary Millions piece on Twain and the art of travel writing.
“I have wasted my life.” Over at the Paris Review, Dan Piepenbring takes a look at James Wright‘s “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota” and the many interpretations readers have brought to its famous last line. Among those readers is David Mitchell, who wrote about the same poem in an essay for The Atlantic‘s By Heart series earlier this year.
While makers of the graph admit that it’s no substitute for a real poll, according to a heatmap of political books purchased on Amazon in the United States, conservative books are more popular than their left-wing rivals. Another heatmap of note: a firm tracked the use of the F-bomb on twitter over the course of a day to see where America’s foulest mouths are concentrated.
“We are not buried in history, but surrounded by it. You can’t avoid our behavior being shaped by it, to a considerable degree. We have this fantasy that we are free of history. This allows us not to see the circumstances, the historical circumstances of other people.” The Rumpus interviews Russell Banks about his new book Voyager: Travel Writings.
This weekend we posted our 1000th Tumbl. Since we jumped into the Tumblverse last autumn, we’ve been pretty vocal about how happy we are to be there, posting other curiosities, #LitBeat reports, the occasional cute puppy astronaut picture, and other digital ephemera. Of course, we wouldn’t love Tumblr half so hard if we were there on our lonesome; that’s why we made that handy guide to the other lit-loving Tumblogs that make our day on the regular.