Despite the “grotesquerie of courtship rituals” they present, Roxane Gay enjoys watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, in part because, as she explains, they hearken back to America’s Puritan origins. In The New York Times, the essayist, novelist and Year in Reading alum reflects on a guilty pleasure.
The Walking Tour is drawing ever nearer! Get all the details and RSVP if you want to be notified of any schedule changes.In the NYRB, Mark Danner examines the politics of torture, and J.M. Coetzee gets deep inside Samuel Beckett’s head.James Wood finger-drumming on YouTube is just the most weirdly hypnotic thing we’ve ever seen.Typewriter-part art. (via The Rumpus)A new front runner in the coolest bookshelf contest. Think of it – geographic classification! (for American lit only)”Geoff Dyer book unlikely to win Bad Sex Award“Jane Austen got rejection letters too.Wow. A new Kurt Vonnegut collection is on the way. Amazon has it listed.A glimmer of good news in the newspaper business?Audrey Niffenegger is having a pretty good recession.Further Reading: Kevin’s list of families and fiction has garnered many additions from readers in the comments.
Here are the first lines of some wonderful short stories from Bukowksi, Kafka, and Barthelme illustrated with simple 8 bit images. And here are eleven American movie posters rendered by artist Murat Palta in the style of classic Ottoman art. I especially dig the one based on Scarface.
“After scanning across this listing while doing cursory research for something else, I instantly became obsessed with the idea of the zebra skin in the library. What, exactly, did it look like? How was it stored amongst his papers? Why had he owned it? What was it doing in the special collections of an academic library?” On looking through the archives of William Gaddis.
The new issue of Story South dedicated its “Special Feature: Southern Poets” section to the work of Kathryn Stripling Byer. To wit, you can check out two of her poems – “Waiting for Bob” and “Making Myself at Home” – as well as an interview between her and Terry Kennedy, and a review of her latest collection, Descent.
“When you go to Narnia, your worries come with you. Narnia just becomes the place where you work them out and try to resolve them.” Lev Grossman writes for The Atlantic about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and why fantasy isn’t escapism. Pair with our own Edan Lepucki‘s review of Grossman’s latest novel, The Magician’s Land.
Researchers at Google have analyzed “audiovisual patterns,” “title, description and tags,” “words associated with amusement” in user comments, “emoticons,” and even the number of o’s in the average “LOL” in various YouTube videos in order to identify the funniest content on the web. Then they set up an algorithm to rank their findings, and subjected those findings to an audience vote (which you can join over here). Based on their calculations so far, this was the funniest video of all time. What do you think?
Have you ever tweeted only to delete it a minute later after discovering a typo? Yes, even we aren’t immune. At The New Yorker, our own Mark O’Connell examines the public humiliation that follows after you tweet something regrettable. Pair with: Our piece on literary Twitter’s first tweets.