“The clash of genre values is fundamental to the novelistic experience. That’s how we ought to be thinking about our books. Instead of asking whether a comic book could be “as valuable” as King Lear, we ought to ask how the values of tragedy and romance might collide.” Joshua Rothman writes about the coming “collapse of the genre system” and our own Emily St. John Mandel‘s National Book Award short-listed Station Eleven for The New Yorker.
Boston has announced the country’s first “Literary Culture District,” marked by memorials to Edgar Allen Poe and Sylvia Plath. It also includes some arguably less interesting sites – the buildings that used to house The Atlantic Monthly and Little, Brown and Company, for example. Caroline O’Donovan writes critically about the new district for The Baffler and concludes that “we’ve allowed glib cultural ideals to occlude economic realities, and tourism tax dollars to triumph over a candid conversation about the origins of art and the sustainability of its production.”
Even those who detest the sport can feel the joys of reading Roger Angell’s baseball writing. Case in point: his latest dispatch, in which he remarks on a recent triple play by saying, “What’s great about [triple plays] isn’t really their scarcity but the fact that they beautifully illustrate the invisible force that hovers about each pitch and play and inning and game in this pausing, staccato, and inexorably accruing pastime: the laws of chance.”
Facebook’s amended S-1 to its IPO was filed this week, and the details confirm some of the doubts raised in the last filing. The company estimates that between 5-6% of its most active users could in fact be “duplicate” (read: fake) accounts. Put in more concrete terms, of Facebook’s estimated 850 million users, 46,475,000 may be like this one. (46 million, by the way, is roughly the population of Colombia, Spain, or Ukraine.)
Andrew Marantz reviews R. Kelly’s “breezy” and “revealing” memoir, Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me, for The New Yorker’s book blog, Page-Turner. This might be what they meant when they said they were “rebooting” the Book Bench. (Related: hear Gary Oldman read some passages from the book.)
Idris Elba, Sean Penn and Javier Bardem have signed on to star in a film adaptation of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s novel, The Prone Gunman. According to Christian Blauvelt of Hollywood.com, “Elba will be playing a cloak-and-dagger agent named Dupont who tangles with Sean Penn, who also plays an agent for a clandestine operations outfit who is betrayed by his organization, forcing him on the run across Europe.”
The latest actor to go vampire? John. C Reilly! As you might expect, he’s a hammy vampire, not a sparkly one. See the preview for Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant