To accompany this infographic on Russian literature, The New York Times asked Francine Prose and Benjamin Moser what makes 19th century Russian writing so distinctive. Pair with our own Matt Seidel‘s take on rejected Bookends questions.
You may have heard that our own Bill Morris has a new book on shelves. He talked about it with fellow Millions staff writer and California author Edan Lepucki. At the LARB, Diana Clarke reviews the book, which she calls “a sharp critique of the contemporary American post-racial narrative,” among other things.
Cat’s Cradle‘s Felix Hoenikker would be so proud: Stanford scientists have found a way to make a dense, extraterrestrial ice called Ice VII (via The Rumpus). See also: “2 B R 0 2 B”, a “lost” Vonnegut story that first appeared in the sci-fi journal Worlds of If in January 1962.
John Domini reviews Joseph McElroy’s Cannonball in the pages of Bookforum. In our Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview, our own Garth Risk Hallberg wrote that, “this, his first novel in many a moon, concerns the Iraq War, among other things, and it’s hard to think of an author more suited to reimagining the subject.”
We recently offered a look at the odd history of the book blurb here at The Millions. Now the New York Times is looking at this peculiar custom, inviting four contributors to discuss their merits and pitfalls. Among them is our own Bill Morris, who revisits his 2011 essay “To Blurb Or Not To Blurb” about the dilemma he faced when asked to blurb a friend’s book.
The Wall Street Journal sent Geoff Dyer a bottle of El Segundo Brewing Company’s Blue House Citra Pale ale, and asked him to write about it. Because he’s Geoff Dyer, and there isn’t a topic (e.g. aircraft carriers, photography) on Earth that he can’t write about, he of course obliged.
No need to bake sugar cookies this holiday season. Try Nietzsche’s angel food cake recipe instead. “Allow the angel to reach room temperature. Then kill it,” Rebecca Coffey writes the recipe for McSweeney’s. You can find more literary cooking tips in Coffey’s Nietzsche’s Angel Food Cake: And Other Recipes for the Intellectually Famished.