England, as you know if you’ve ever read A Christmas Carol, has a long tradition of telling ghost stories around Christmas. What else could you read besides the Dickens classic to partake? At The Paris Review Daily, Colin Fleming lists a number of candidates, including Smee by A.M. Burrage and The Kit-Bag by Algernon Blackwood. You could also check out our reading list for December.
Michiko Kakutani's generous and oddly moving review of Jay-Z's Decoded - in which she seems to find a kindred spirit - almost makes me want to take back all the mean things I've said about her. I still don't trust her judgment, but the review's worth reading just for the mental image of her in big headphones, nodding along to "Streets Is Watching." Go 'head, shorty.
While we're on the subject of Harry Potter, I have some bad news. According to J.K. Rowling herself, Cursed Child is likely the last we'll ever see of the boy (now middle-aged) wizard: "He goes on a very big journey during these two plays and then, yeah, I think we’re done. This is the next generation, you know ... So, I’m thrilled to see it realized so beautifully but, no, Harry is done now.”
Those of you with some knowledge of Pale Fire and Lolita won't be surprised to learn what Nabokov thought of dinner parties. Namely, he thought they were awful, vaguely surreal events, held largely by drunkards with overriding appetites for drama. At The Paris Review Daily, Sadie Stein quotes a passage from “The Vane Sisters” to explain why "It’s hard to think of someone you’d want less at a midcentury faculty tea, save maybe a seething Shirley Jackson.” You could also read our own Garth Risk Hallberg on Nabokov's Ada, or Ardor.