In 1817, the painter Robert Benjamin Haydon invited several guests over for what he called an “immortal dinner.” Why the bombastic name? The guests included Keats and Wordsworth, whom Haydon wished to introduce to each other. In the WaPo, Michael Dirda takes a look at The Immortal Evening, a new book about the event by Stanley Plumly.
The oil boom occurring in North Dakota, Montana, and Canada’s Bakken Formation is so frantic right now that ND’s unemployment rate is only 3.4%, the lowest in the nation. “Hiring is so frantic,” writes Business Week‘s Bryan Gruley, “the McDonald’s in Dickinson [North Dakota] is offering $300 signing bonuses.”
Amazon’s 7″ Kindle Fire tablet will sell for $199 — less than half the cost of Apple’s cheapest iPad. The color, touch-screen tablet will run Google’s Android software and have access to Amazon’s app store, streaming movies and TV shows. Additionally, Amazon’s announced the launch of the $99 Kindle Touch, and has reduced the price of the standard Kindle to $79.
What happens when a writer inserts a ghost or monster into a story? At Berfrois, Alexander Stachniak argues that much of our current literature about the uncanny fails to help writers looking to answer this question. (Related: Steve Himmer on his monstrous Mary Poppins dreams.)
At N+1, Marco Roth autopsies “the neuronovel” – think Motherless Brooklyn (Tourette’s), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (autism), Lowboy (paranoid schizophrenia), The Echo Maker (Capgras syndrome), and Atmospheric Disturbances (Capgras again?) – and finds “sign[s] of the novel’s diminishing purview.”
“[E]ven though he was already sick with the illness that would eventually become the tuberculosis that killed him, Orwell left London to live on the Scottish island of Jura (off and on) for the next few years, where he could try to focus on writing fiction instead of journalism.” Nathan Gelgud creates a wonderful illustrated origin story of 1984 for Signature Reads. Pair with this piece on the fall (literally) of the ur-Orwellian home.