“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.
“I was performing an experiment. I wanted to see [how] one of the greatest minds in history would be affected by an experience he had never had before: imbibing a suitable dose of clinical LSD in a desert setting of great magnificence, and then adding to that various kinds of entertainment.” An oral account of a 1975 trip to Death Valley with Michel Foucault.
Infographic of the Week: Famous authors had day jobs, too. Check out this infographic from Adzuna to find out what J.M. Coetzee, George R.R. Martin, J. K. Rowling, and more did before (or while) they published novels. Our own Emily St. John Mandel writes about the struggle to balance a day job and a creative life.
“We are not trying to point fingers or prosecute. I am just trying to solve the last case of my career. There is no statute of limitation on the truth.” A retired FBI agent has launched a cold case review into identifying those who may have betrayed Anne Frank's hiding place to the Gestapo in 1944, reports The Guardian.
Out this week: The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen; Amiable with Big Teeth by Claude McKay; Autumn by Ali Smith; A Separation by Katie Kitamura; 300 Arguments by Sarah Manguso; The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso; Pachinko by Min Jin Lee; and Universal Harvester by John Darnielle. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
“It’s true that when the world did not end when I predicted it would, at the end of last year, in my Netflix special Ragnarok, I realized a number of things, one of which was that I had not made a lot of professional or creative plans on the contingency that the world would continue. I just figured that it would end." Greg Hunter talks with John Hodgman at The Rumpus.