We’ve written a fair bit about the By the Book series at the Times. You can read a selection of the best entries in a collection published by the paper. This week, the series featured another novel guest: Alan Gilbert, the conductor of the New York Philharmonic. Sample quote: “I don’t seek out books about music. I’ve read them over the years, but somehow, as a genre, it isn’t something I am specifically looking for.”
"[Emily] Dickinson is often portrayed as some white gossamer recluse, completely divorced from the world outside her bedroom—but that is not really true. The physical circumference of her adult life was small, but its psychological terrain was boundless." This piece explores the ways in which Emily Dickinson's work was shaped by her skills as a gardener and naturalist.
"Half utilitarian data visualization project, half absurdist poetic gesture:" a Brooklyn artist is working to turn all of Wikipedia into a print encyclopedia set numbering some 7,600 volumes. But the best part of the project by far is the titles for those volumes, which include such gems as "Hulk (Aqua Teen Hunger Force) — Humanitarianism in Africa."
Researchers have determined that "winning a prestigious prize in the literary world seems to go hand-in-hand with a particularly sharp reduction in ratings of perceived quality.” So if you’re very sensitive, take some solace in the fact that you haven’t won a major award, I guess.
Recommended Reading: Robert Macfarlane at The Guardian on what it means to be living in the Anthropocene age–in which human influence on the planet is permanent and profound–and how our writers and artists are responding to the crisis.