This week in book-related infographics, round 2: Lapham’s Quarterly takes a look at the day jobs of famous authors, among them T.S. Eliot, who was responsible for processing reports on German debt, and Charlotte Bronte, who had laundry fees deducted from her pay. Pair with our own Emily St. John Mandel‘s essay on “Working the Double Shift” and “all the strangely varied occupations that a person accumulates when the primary objective is not to establish a career, per se, but just to pay the rent while they’re working on a novel.”
Peter Mendelsund writes for the Paris Review about how we see, or think we see, fictional characters. "Characters are ciphers. ... We are ever reviewing and reconsidering our mental portraits of characters in novels: amending them, backtracking to check on them, updating them when new information arises."
The Corrections might never make it to screen, but Jonathan Franzen's New Yorker essay on songbird poaching, "Emptying the Skies" (behind the paywall), is already a documentary. The film follows a group of bird lovers trying to save the endangered animals and even includes an interview with Franzen. Although the documentary just found a distributor, there is no word on an official release date. Until then, here's the trailer.
Trader Joe’s, circa 1877: “It’s always the same complaint: ‘Joe, you don’t have any of the essential items that every other trading post has. Why don’t you have saddles? Or gunpowder? Or basic tools?’ Because I have soy chorizo, that’s why! Because I have chocolate-covered peanut-butter-filled pretzels!”
Over-confident people enter into our lives in many forms: military planners, Wall Street investors, that chick shouting *NSYNC into the mic at the back of the bar. Daniel Kahneman's new book Thinking, Fast and Slow, deals with this phenomenon of human nature. Read an excerpt here.