Recommended Reading: a piece from the New York Review of Books blog on modern attention spans and what they mean for literature. Hint: it’s not looking too promising. Tim Parks closes with a prediction that “the novel of elegant, highly distinct prose, of conceptual delicacy and syntactical complexity, will tend to divide itself up into shorter and shorter sections, offering more frequent pauses where we can take time out. The larger popular novel, or the novel of extensive narrative architecture, will be ever more laden with repetitive formulas, and coercive, declamatory rhetoric to make it easier and easier, after breaks, to pick up, not a thread, but a sturdy cable.”
From the Paris Review, a small selection of Victor Hugo‘s four thousand drawings.
Pop Chart Lab’s latest creation depicts some of the most famous cocktail-and-character pairings in literature and film. The gamut runs from Daisy Buchanan’s Mint Julep to The Dude’s White Russian. (Of course, the Preakness Stakes are this weekend, so really you should be drinking Black Eyed Susans.)
Another response to The New Yorker‘s 20 under 40 list, this time from Dzanc Books. Dzanc polled “nearly 100 independent publishers, agents, editors, bloggers and reviewers” and went through two rounds of voting to come up with 20 Writers to Watch: An Alternate List.
Eric Harvey presents The Social History of the MP3 at Pitchfork: “So omnipresent have these discussions become, in fact, that it’s possible the past 10 years could become the first decade of pop music to be remembered by history for its musical technology rather than the actual music itself.”
True James Joyce fans don’t need to be reminded that today, June 16th, is the 110th Bloomsday–the day of Leopold Bloom’s fictional wanderings-about-Dublin commemorated in the 732 pages of Ulysses. Though the most traditional way to celebrate Bloomsday may be to follow in his literal footsteps with your own tour of the city, as the Paris Review explains, there’s more than one way to prove your love for Joyce even if you never read his book.
Forget the Dos Equis guy. John Fairfax was truly “the most interesting man in the world” and, if you don’t believe me, read this series of lines from his actual obituary: “At 9, he settled a dispute with a pistol. At 13, he lit out for the Amazon jungle. At 20, he attempted suicide-by-jaguar. Afterward he was apprenticed to a pirate.”