“Why write in an unlovable genre with an inevitably hectoring tone? Dystopia, situated in a dangerous no-man’s-land between the pulpit of the preacher and the safe sniper post of the satirist.” Future futurists, take note: the New York Review of Books reviews Chang-Rae Lee’s addition to your dystopic shelf, On Such a Full Sea, and ponders the virtues of the dystopic endeavor itself. (Bonus: Lee writes about his own 2013 Year in Reading here at The Millions.)
Out this week: New Boy by Tracy Chevalier; Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi; The Awkward Age by Francesca Segal; The Australian by Emma Smith-Stevens; Evensong by Kate Southwood; Behind the Moon by Madison Smartt Bell; and Bad Dreams and Other Stories by Tessa Hadley. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
Some videos just make you want to write. Joe Capra's stunning timelapse video of Iceland's "midnight sun" is one of them.
"When the French would go to serve, they often said, Tenez!, the French word for 'take it,' meaning 'coming at you, heads up.' We preserve this custom of warning the opponent in our less lyrical way by stating the score just before we toss up the ball. It was the Italians who, having overheard the French make these sounds, began calling the game 'ten-ez' by association. A lovely detail in that it suggests a scene, a Florentine ear at the fence or entryway, listening." Whether it's David Foster Wallace or John Jeremiah Sullivan writing about tennis, I'm reading it. Another three-namer, Jonathan Russell Clark, reviewed The David Foster Wallace Reader for The Millions.
Amazon, which recently entered the world of original broadcast content, has subverted television’s traditional “pilot season” by forgoing a staggered release schedule in favor of plunking all fourteen of its pilots onto its website at once. The idea is for audiences to watch the eight comedies and six animated shows for free, and then help the company decide which options are the most promising for long term development. Just a tip: Alpha House features appearances from John Goodman and Bill Murray.
When all is said and done, Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle series will consist of six published volumes. In light of the overwhelmingly positive reception for the epic Norwegian books – which have garnered heaps of praise around these parts – Archipelago Books is raising money to produce a special, hardcover edition of each installment.