Is “the two-person collaboration… the essential creative act”? Joshua Wolf Shenk thinks so, and he’s written a book defending his position, aptly titled The Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs. While John Lennon and Paul McCartney are his primary examples and the root of his argument, famous author duos are also referenced – C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, for one. Shenk even “works to transform even famously lonely figures — Rainer Maria Rilke, Emily Dickinson, Martin Luther King Jr. — into one side of a duet.” Consider us skeptical but intrigued.
“What I didn’t know then was that these decorations evolved from the Jewish menora, the Hebrew festival of lights. I don’t think my mother knew that either, but if she did she never mentioned it. And I certainly never contemplated the resemblance of a sleigh to a cradle. A sleigh is basically a very large cradle.” Mary Ruefle on Christmas trees.
With the advent of e-readers, books on the subway are getting harder and harder to spot. It takes dedication to get a sense of what people are reading these days. At The Awl, Ben Dolnick sets out to catalogue a week’s worth of sightings, which included a man reading Cloud Atlas and The Stranger and a teenage girl reading Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. You could also read our own Nick Moran on the question of whether e-readers are really green.
Recommended Reading: Return to Oakpine author Ron Carlson’s short story, “How Things Have Actually Changed Since We Did Secede from the United States.”
Asymptote, a new international journal of literary translation, is up for free online and comes packed with ear candy. Though all the content is translated into English, an audio recording of the authors reading their work in the original language accompanies many of the pieces.
The Paris Review will soon move into a new office space, and while preparing for the relocation, some staffers discovered “a batch of small, white booklets” entitled “The Paris Review: Twenty Year Index, Issues 1-56.” The lists seemed to indicate everything that had been published in the magazine during its first 23 years of existence, and they also featured an introduction from founder George Plimpton – an introduction, by the way, that really depicts the Review of old better than any photograph ever could.