Even though Harper Lee hasn't given an interview in 50 years, her letters are an insight into the notoriously reclusive writer."I simply don't give interviews, because it takes great skill to ask meaningful questions and very few people in the media have it," she wrote in a 2005 letter. Two of Lee's letters will be auctioned today and are expected to go for at least $2,500 a piece. Pair with: Our essay on reclusive authors.
"If only the interest he provokes were limited to his immediate surroundings, but, alas, it is not!... Still farther away, great mountains of data mining sum up, in zeroes and ones, the ultimate truth of his being." KA Semënova updates Nabokov's short story "Signs and Sumbols" (and works by other famous Russian authors) for McSweeney's, "teh internets" and the digital world.
"6 Reasons We're In Another 'Book-Burning' Period In History" is not about the destruction of books based on content or community objections; it's about the destruction of books because libraries (and sometimes bookstores) don't know what to do with them. We also had a little something to say about the topic.
Eccentric celebrity chef José Andrés (who should be familiar to fans of No Reservations) has an enviable library of cookbooks and volumes of food history. He even owns a notepad of Honoré Julien's (Chef for both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson) which allegedly proves the Frenchman introduced French fries to America.
Daniel Orozco's Orientation collects many of his short stories in one attractive volume. Released last May, the collection features the classic story "Orientation" (Scribd) as well as newer ones such as "Shakers" (Scribd). It garnered enough hype to land him on the long list for this year's Frank O'Connor Award.
Short on insult fodder? In that case you’ll want to read Colin Burrow’s review of Melissa Mohr’s Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing. It includes such notables as: “slapsauce fellows, slabberdegullion druggels, lubbardly lowts … slutch calf-lollies, grouthead gnat-snappers, lob-dotterels, gaping changelings, [and] codshead loobies.” In the end, “swearing is one of the most basic human acts,” he writes.