According to a recent survey, Danes are the happiest people in the world. This came as a surprise, writes Mathilde Walter Clark, to most of her fellow Scandinavians, who know very well the unhappier elements of their daily lives. The problem, she suggests, is that words like “happiness,” “ambition” and “contentment” have subtly different meanings in different languages — in other words, happiness in Denmark isn’t the same thing as happiness in America. You could also read our own Emily St. John Mandel’s review of the Danish writer Jonas T. Bengtsson’s A Fairy Tale.
Overt at JSTOR Daily, Allana Mayer writes about visual literacy in the age of the Internet. As she explains it, “We have similar stories all throughout history: the moment when a perception—whether a literal way of seeing or a figurative mode of thinking—is assaulted and fundamentally shifts.” Pair with our own Bill Morris’s piece on the new Whitney Museum.
Want to know what what Freddy Krueger's reading? On his Twitter feed, actor (and author!) Robert Englund reports his favorite reads. Recently: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan and The Singer's Gun by The Millions contributor Emily St. John Mandel.
Knopf publicity bigwig Paul Bogaards kindly plunked us onto his Hierarchy of Book Publishing: The Top 100. We'd note that we're run out of basements throughout the NY-metro area (and not just NJ), but we're too busy telling the Stieg Larsson estate to eat our dust.
The recently (and controversially) appointed poet laureate of North Carolina has resigned from the post, but the upset generated by her short-lived laureateship can be interpreted as a sign of just how important poet laureates are. If you're unconvinced, or simply confused about what exactly poet laureates do, we have just the links for you.
In order to prolong the conversation around his Atlantic cover story, “The Case for Reparations,” Ta-Nehisi Coates recently took to Twitter to engage in a Q&A session with his readers. You can scroll through the entire exchange over here. Coates was also interviewed by Ezra Klein for Vox this week, and the resulting video is probably the most valuable piece of content that site has produced since its inception.
The new book by Alain de Botton, How to Think More About Sex, addresses exactly what you’d think it would based on a glance at its title. According to de Botton, the word “sexy,” at base, refers to people or things which mimic our deeply-held values. At Brain Pickings, you can read more excerpts.