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.
Obama brings hope, change to the publishing industry.I hope that I shall never see / A book of Palin’s poetry.The Nation talks with the journalist who helped research 2666.Chuck Klosterman gets in the ring with Axl, Bucket and, uh…hey, man, remind me who else is in this band?How is a Snopes like a Lebowski? More Intelligent Life counts the ways.The new online magazine Flyp offers a “truly interactive” look at Jeffrey Eugenides.Ed and his doppelganger Bat have put together a three DVD set of the complete interviews of Bat Segundo, for sale now on the sidebar of the Bat site.The Quarterly Conversation issue 14 is now out, featuring considerations of Gaddis and Bukowski and an opportunity to win every single one of Roberto Bolaño’s works available in English.We were lucky enough to join some accomplished company in Blogs.com’s list of the 10 Best Literature Blogs, curated by Largehearted Boy.Speaking of Largehearted Boy, he has posted his top albums of 2008 list.The Bad Sex in Fiction Award announces its distinguished list of finalists. And the winner is Shire Hell by Rachel Johnson, with a Lifetime Achievement Award going to John Updike.The Washington Post profiles M.T. Anderson, the D.F. Wallace of Young Adult literature.And, following up on our Wallace Shawn posts, here’s audio of the man himself, reading James Comey’s testimony before Congress.
After the death of Harold Ramis, it seems only fitting to read Esquire’s oral history of Ghostbusters. Dan Aykroyd initially wanted it to be an intergalactic drama, yet he and others were happy with how it turned out. “People in the paranormal field loved it. It gave focus to their work,” Aykroyd said.
How has a spirit legally defined as being “without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color” flourished in today’s economic climate? Victorino Matus‘ Weekly Standard article explores the history and ubiquity of vodka. Perhaps this article is best paired with something from NPR‘s list of “Great American Writers and Their Cocktails.”
Google has launched a new search filter to its “advanced search page” that allows people to sort content based on reading level — basic, intermediate, or advanced. Google thinks The Millions lands in the middle. Search your website using the feature to see how Google rates it. (Disclaimer: we can’t see any rhyme or reason to their ratings.) (Update for you visitors from Gawker: If this Google business bores you – and lets be honest, it’s not that exciting – stick around and check out our much more scintillating Year in Reading series, featuring Margaret Atwood, John Banville, Sam Lipsyte and all manner of literary luminaries.)
Hold on to your starched collars: In breaking Shakespeare news, Oxford University Press announced that in its new edition of the complete works of William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe will receive credit as co-author on the Henriad plays. And if you’re really tired of Will getting all the credit, you’ll enjoy our recent piece about the surge of interest in Ben Jonson, who’s basically the Third Tenor to their more famous voices.