“Literature is the record we have of the conversation between those of us now alive on earth and everyone who’s come before and will come after, the cumulative repository of humanity’s knowledge, wonder, curiosity, passion, rage, grief and delight. It’s as useless as a spun-sugar snowflake and as practical as a Swiss Army knife.” Dana Stevens and Adam Kirsch discuss whether literature should be considered useful.
We recently linked to a new interview with Ian McEwan, whose latest novel The Children Act comes out next week. The LA Times has a full review of the new book, and the piece pairs well with Charles-Adam Foster-Simard‘s review of McEwan’s Sweet Tooth. And of course there’s Atonement, which comes up in a variety of Millions articles, from Michael David Lukas‘s essay on the polyphonic novel to Seth Sawyer‘s recent piece on food and reading.
The best longread you’re likely to find this afternoon: Martin Amis talks to David Wallace-Wells about his latest novel, Lionel Asbo: State of England, America’s decline, politics, porn, post-modernism and more. Amis even dodges another attempt to bring up that book he wrote about videogames that nobody will let him live down.
With the close of the London 2012 Olympic Games come the media think pieces, including this one from The Atlantic, which collects some of its best memes. And this one, on the use of the gif in digital sports coverage, in the Nieman Journalism Lab, and here’s Kevin Nguyen championing BuzzFeed for their Olympics coverage. Also, The Spice Girls.
Thanks to Jane Friedman, the Virginia Quarterly Review is really blossoming of late when it comes to social media and increased web presence. Case in point: these once-a-week poem posters on their Facebook page. Extra case in point: the sort-of-not-so-secret Tumblr they’re working on!