In most portrayals of Cold War espionage, both Communist and capitalist spies appear wedded to their respective ideologies. Yet real spies, as the FBI knows, often have more nebulous motivations. In the Times Book Review, Ben MacIntyre reads the latest by Ha Jin, which centers on a Chinese spy embedded in suburban Virginia.
In 2006, the National Library of Norway enacted an ambitious plan to digitize every book in its holdings by 2020. The idea is that all of the content (even works under copyright) will be accessible to people logging into the system with a Norwegian IP address.
Do you want a book with your Happy Meal? McDonald's will replace Happy Meal toys with books for two weeks next month. Don't expect to pull out Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs with your fries, though. The books were created for McDonald's by Leo Burnett and discuss nutrition. Did they miss the irony?
The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction have been announced! Winners for 2016 are Viet Thanh Nguyen for his novel, The Sympathizer and Sally Mann for Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs. You could also read Nguyen’s Year in Reading.
If the description “a comic thriller about mermaids, the natural world and ruthless capitalism” isn’t enough to pique your interest, you might be inspired to pick up Lydia Millet's latest by the title of Laura Miller’s review, which describes Millet as “the P.G. Wodehouse of environmental writing.” At Salon, the book critic goes into the many reasons she enjoys Millet’s work, among them the author's knack for deploying humor at appropriate times. FYI, Millet wrote an article for The Millions recently.
“The Common Core State Standards in English, which have been adopted in 46 states and the District, call for public schools to ramp up nonfiction so that by 12th grade students will be reading mostly ‘informational text’ instead of fictional literature,” writes Lyndsey Layton. Is this the end of The Catcher in the Rye?