Over the course of a half-century, Vladimir Nabokov wrote hundreds of letters to his wife Vera, which are being published in book form this week for the first time. Among other things, they reveal the absurd pet names he invented for her (such as Goosykins and Monkeykins) and display Nabokov musing over whether or not to borrow a friend’s castle for the summer. Also worth reading: our own Garth Risk Hallberg on Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor.
“Why Facebook? Why this format?... The striking thing about the real Zuckerberg, in video and in print, is the relative banality of his ideas concerning the ‘Why’ of Facebook. He uses the word ‘connect’ as believers use the word ‘Jesus,’ as if it were sacred in and of itself...” Zadie Smith considers “Generation Why” and The Social Network at the New York Review of Books. Our own review of The Social Network by Sonya Chung can be found here.
Recommended Reading: Over at Electric Literature, Lori Huth writes about Jeanette Winterson and contemporary war metaphor: "I wanted to feel powerful emotions commensurate with the horror of the story behind the images. I wanted to feel bewildered, and to lament, but instead I felt numb."
Goucher College announced the creation of a new interdisciplinary minor this week. “Book Studies” will “explore the past, present, and future of the book,” according to the school’s administration. Regarding the “future of the book,” might we recommend our built-in syllabus?
Every so often, a piece comes along that rends the fragile mind, employing a devil’s portion of mundane details to lay bare the inescapable futility of all human endeavor. This is the only rational way to describe this piece at The Awl, which takes the form of a conversation between Karl Ove Knausgaard and True Detective’s Nic Pizzolatto.