In the past ten years, we’ve seen many attempts to construct a taxonomy of the hipster, which is why it’s refreshing to come across a novel account of the term’s origins. At The Atlantic, Karen Swallow Prior makes a convincing case that T.S. Eliot, in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, invented the “cuffed-trouser urbanite on the hunt for authenticity.”
The Washington Post reports that Spanish writer and Cervantes Prize winner Juan Goytisolo has died at age 86. Bruna Dantas Lobato wrote about Goytisolo’s 1970 novel of dispossession Count Julian for us, noting that “[j]ust like the nature of exile itself, the narrative offers no relief, no place of rest: just fragment after fragment of dry landscapes, lonely characters, and rooms in disarray.”
Over the course of a half-century, Vladimir Nabokov wrote hundreds of letters to his wife Vera, which are being published in book form this week for the first time. Among other things, they reveal the absurd pet names he invented for her (such as Goosykins and Monkeykins) and display Nabokov musing over whether or not to borrow a friend’s castle for the summer. Also worth reading: our own Garth Risk Hallberg on Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor.
Neil deGrasse Tyson just continues to fix the world, one piece of astronomical minutiae at a time. Theatergoers sitting through screenings of Titanic 3-D will no longer see an incorrect star field thanks to a “snarky” email sent by Dr. Tyson to director James Cameron.
New this week: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton; The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith; Lisette’s List by Susan Vreeland; Fives and Twenty Fives by Michael Pitre; Mr. Tall by Tony Earley; and Love, of a Kind by Felix Dennis. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.