“Internet reading takes up my time without my setting that time aside for it, and fills me with images and thoughts that I don’t perceive going in, like radiation… In these online minutes or hours, I drift along with my mouth open, absorbing whatever’s floating by, never chewing or even swallowing, just letting it all seep pre-chewed into me”: an elegant argument against reading about books before you read the books in question at Electric Literature. (But we hope you’ll continue to read The Millions anyway.)
Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Stonecutter. In the most recent issue, you’ll find our own Lydia Kiesling’s essay on cigarettes and literature; in Issue #2, you’ll find Mark O’Connell discussing Roberto Bolaño’s Between Parentheses. You read that correctly: 50% of all Stonecutter issues feature Millions staffers.
“Insanity, madness, obsession, math, objectivity, truth, science and art. These friends always impress me. They’re sculptors and tailors, not scientists or spies. I’ve chosen them with the peculiar attentiveness of a shell collector stupidly combining the overwhelming multitude of broken detritus to hold up one shell so beautiful that it finds its way into my pocket, lining my clothes with sand. And then another. Not too many, so that the sheer number could never diminish the value of one.” On madness and genius with cosmologist Janna Levin.
The Republic of South Sudan has declared independence. Just three years ago, Dave Eggers published Out of Exile: Narratives from the Abducted and Displaced People of Sudan (Voice of Witness). The Guardian has an excerpt. A year later, Jamal Mahjoub foresaw the secessionist fervor south of Darfur.
“The day is spent for the most part in a glorious solitude. Like the hunter who moves silently through the woods to check his traps, she moves through the library, cautiously avoiding those whom she knows. A single conversation would ruin the beauty and vastness of her silence. Today no such conversation occurs and she is happy.” Good luck not reading this narration of a graduate student’s life in the voice of director Werner Herzog, now. Here’s a great Herzog Millions piece, as well.
By now the overlap between writers and drug addicts is pretty well-known, but it wasn’t so well-known back when Thomas De Quincey wrote Confessions of an English Opium Eater. In the essay, De Quincey admitted that not only was he addicted to opium, he suspected he’d ingested more of the substance than any other man save Coleridge. (Incidentally, we reviewed a novel by Year in Reading alumnus Jeet Thayil that largely took place in an opium den.)