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.
“It was astonishing. Utterly astonishing. Everyone of them seemed . . . entranced by him.” Sometimes older books get a second life given contemporary contexts; such is the case with Sinclair Lewis‘s 1935 It Can’t Happen Here, reports Time. The book, which was written as Hitler came to power, has sold out online. See also this New Yorker piece about a recent stage adaptation of Lewis’s semi-satirical novel.
In addition to the Jewish refugees who emigrated to North America in the years leading up to World War II, there was also a sizable contingent who fled East. In particular, an estimated 30,000 refugees journeyed to Shanghai between the years of 1933 to 1941. With them, the refugees brought all sorts of valuables, heirlooms, and artifacts. One family brought over 2,000 books. Now, over 70 years later, one Shanghai family is asking for help locating the owner of that library. Part One; Part Two. (h/t Bint Battuta)
Megaupload’s demise has the internet in an uproar, but the shutdown of the sharing site is unlikely to put a dent in online piracy. Still, sites such as FileSonic, FileServe, and and Uploaded.to have taken matters into their own hands by disabling sharing access in the United States, and MediaFire’s CEO has issued a preemptive statement on the matter. None of this is particularly surprising, though, which is why it’s so refreshing–for all fans of Schadenfreude–to learn that Kim Dotcom, Megaupload’s “Goldfinger”-esque founder, plans on releasing an album in the near future.