Reading War and Peace was always a challenge, but how much harder is it in an age of constant distraction? At Salon, Mike Harris, a self-confessed distraction addict, writes about his experience tackling the Russian classic. You could also read our own Kevin Hartnett on the book’s effect on perception.
Sure, the various TV recaps, screencaps, and Paris Review fan fiction will be a help, but let’s be honest, how long will those last? You could get through all of it today, in a binge. What you need, my friend, is a good book to sate that Mad Men craving you’ll be having now that it’s off the air again. Well, here’s a list of 10 great ones. That should do it. Oh, yes.
“The purpose of being a serious writer is not to express oneself, and it is not to make something beautiful, though one might do those things anyway. Those things are beside the point. The purpose of being a serious writer is to keep people from despair. If you keep that in mind always, the wish to make something beautiful or smart looks slight and vain in comparison. If people read your work and, as a result, choose life, then you are doing your job.” Year in Reading alumna Sarah Manguso on envy and the purpose of writing. Pair with Jaime Green’s Millions review of Manguso’s Ongoingness.
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.
“Samuel Greenberg belongs in the pantheon of literary manqués,” writes Jacob Silverman. The poet was a favorite of Hart Crane, who described him as “a Rimbaud in embryo.” But did Crane take his adoration too far? Did he in fact “remix,” re-purpose, or plagiarize some of Greenberg’s work?