Every so often, a piece comes along that rends the fragile mind, employing a devil’s portion of mundane details to lay bare the inescapable futility of all human endeavor. This is the only rational way to describe this piece at The Awl, which takes the form of a conversation between Karl Ove Knausgaard and True Detective’s Nic Pizzolatto.
Putting aside for a moment the racist phrenological roots of the terms “highbrow” and “lowbrow,” here’s an interesting conversation on what the difference between them means for literature now. For a historical take, check out this graphic from a 1949 edition of LIFE magazine, which taught me a real gentleman wears fuzzy tweed, and iceberg lettuce is never in style.
Fanfiction has been gaining mainstream popularity and cultural heft – just take our own Elizabeth Minkel‘s Year in Reading post as evidence. For those of us with less experience in the fic community, Vulture has assembled a comprehensive “Guide to the Fanfiction Explosion,” complete with infographics on Harry Styles fic, an explanation of why Annie Proulx isn’t thrilled about Brokeback Mountain spinoffs, and, of course, a syllabus for further reading.
On the eve of the Frankfurt Book Fair, German Chancellor Angela Merkel took the opportunity to express her concern that Google Books threatens the rights of authors and potentially violates copyright laws, BusinessWeek reports.
Take a vicarious trip to China via a special issue of Ninth Letter, a literary and arts journal published by the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Including work by authors Madelaine Thien and Khaled Al Khamissi, the issue grew out of a residency sponsored by Sun Yat-sen University’s Center for English-language Creative Writing, the only such department of its kind in that country. Pair with this piece by Casey Walker about writing his novel Last Days in Shanghai, which is set in the boomtown of today’s new China.