“The idea that novels could be dangerous seems largely have fallen by the wayside, which does raise the question of how today’s newer sources of entertainment and information will look to the critics of the future. In 50 years, maybe we’ll be lamenting our failure to read enough Internet.” Anna North writes about the distant time “When Novels Were Bad For You” for The New York Times.
Edinburgh's latest whodunnit wasn't written by Ian Rankin. The Scottish capital's mysterious book sculptor has struck again. Last summer, she started anonymously leaving paper sculptures at literary locations around the city to promote free access to libraries, museums, and galleries. The latest artwork arrived at the Edinburgh Unesco City of Literature Trust and includes paper feather wings, a safety helmet, and goggles "to provide some protection throughout journey."
If for some unspeakable reason you didn’t follow my advice when I urged you to subscribe to the VQR over a year ago, then perhaps you need more convincing. Enter: Ron Charles. He’s got a brief preview of the magazine’s Winter Issue, which hit shelves this week, and which contains an essay based on Natasha Trethewey’s Library of Congress speech.
Flushed with cash after the runaway success of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the Harvard University Press has decided to offer a 20% discount off two dozen works on capitalism and its discontents. Get to it while the gettin’s good.
In Case You Missed It: This email exchange between playwright Sarah Ruhl and the late Max Ritvo, whose Four Reincarnations is out next week: "I think my mind is a set of lapis lazuli steps falling apart, and all I want is to be told 'it’s alright, we rebuild it every day' But what is the it? What is it? And if I was vaporized by a ray gun but was then replaced instantly by an identical person with an identical filigree of nerves shot through with identical sparks cased in an identical skull—would it still be me? I don’t think so. I don’t know if even a perfect Reincarnation would be a Reincarnation to me, in my heart. I’m starting to feel like Theseus and I just want my fucking ship out of the dry-dock and back on the water."
Michael Chabon is really into prog rock. And I just picked up a couple of great Emerson Lake & Palmer LPs. So now I've got a soundtrack for reading Telegraph Avenue, which I'm especially stoked on after our own Michael Bourne's review of the novel, devoted as I am to the "brilliant little brushstrokes of language."