Recommended Reading: “Yesterday,” Haruki Murakami’s new piece in The New Yorker. (I’ll give you one guess to name the band it’s about.) And speaking of Murakami, his latest novel has an official book trailer now.
A group of researchers from the University of Cambridge is using Twitter to help research the rapidly disappearing Welsh language “[because] tweets don’t follow the conventions of written language” and instead “provide an authentic snapshot of spoken language.” (Bonus: Twitter’s stunning visualizations of “tweet geography.”)
To kick off 2010, we at The Millions are thrilled to announce that Emily St. John Mandel has joined us as a regular contributor. Emily lives in Brooklyn. Her first novel, Last Night In Montreal, was recently published by Unbridled Books; her second novel, The Singer’s Gun, will be published by the same press in May 2010. Her pieces for The Millions are collected here. Welcome Emily!
What’s better than slash fiction about your favorite authors? Slash sestinas about your favorite authors. At The Toast, Jade Sylvan writes three sestinas pairing Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, and J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. “Two friends, writers, men,/in the most flamboyantly seedy café on the Left/Bank. Scott can’t get past the second word: ‘Write.'”
At Bookforum, Alexander Benaim reads the latest novel by Jess Row, which I wrote about as part of our most recent book preview. The novel poses a charged, intriguing question: what would happen if it were possible to change your race? (It might also be a good time to read the author’s Year in Reading entry along with our own Mark O’Connell’s review of the novel at Slate.)
After earning herself a “test run” writer’s residency aboard an Amtrak train, Jessica Gross reflects on the virtues and benefits of writing by railcar. Meanwhile, Alexander Chee announces he’ll be writing on the rails from New York City to Portland this Spring. You can read some more information about the program over here.