“It has been said of the Beatles that there is not a clunker of a song in their oeuvre because they simply never let the bad stuff get released. The same might be said of Nabokov—for ‘Camera Obscura’ shows that he was indeed capable of writing a second-rate novel. (He knew it, and rewrote it.)” John Colapinto looks at Nabokov‘s retranslation of Laughter in the Dark for The New Yorker.
“The New York Times said goodbye to roughly a hundred editorial staffers, with a similar number gone from the Wall Street Journal. Condé Nast might be shuttering Details and Self and will possibly unleash a bloodbath in the fall. Time Inc., Meredith Corporation, and Prometheus Global Media—owner of the Hollywood Reporter, Billboard—and other outlets have all recently cut costs.” Noah Davis on online journalism and the current state of affairs for writers, over at The Awl. Pair with Kate Angus’s essay on making money as a poet.
Last Tuesday, I wrote about an article in the Literary Review that shed light on the daughters of Wordsworth and Coleridge. Now, in the LRB, Tim Parks reviews a new biography of the children of Charles Dickens. (Related: our own Mark O’Connell reviewed Mr. Parks’s new book.)
Courtesy of fake-news juggernaut The Onion, a new viral website honest about its purpose: “I think we see the ideal ClickHole reader as a hollow shell who exists purely to click on our content and then share that content with other hollow shells.” (Also: the same technique on headlines, applied to books.)
Out this week: The Laughing Monsters by Denis Johnson; Let Me Be Frank With You by Richard Ford; Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet; Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter; Twilight of the Eastern Gods by Ismail Kadare; A Map of Betrayal by Ha Jin; Something Rich and Strange by Ron Rash; and Shark by Will Self. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
“Delight in book collecting, and in showing off one’s book collection, is common, if not universal, among readers and would-be-readers. The biggest reason we spend money on books is because we want to read them (eventually), but that isn’t the only reason: we also like to look at them, and to look at other people looking at them.” Over at The Point, Jake Bittle considers why we collect books as opposed to simply reading them. He also points out, correctly, that books are very, very unpleasant to move, something our own Matt Seidel can confirm.