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.
“Kill ‘Em and Leave is [James] McBride’s own testament to [James] Brown’s philosophy. It’s a stunningly unorthodox book, indifferent to the conventions of biographical nonfiction … The book is a hybrid of forms, largely a telling of Brown’s life story and partly a telling of McBride’s search for that story, with digressions about the author’s own life, essayistic ruminations on Brown and his music, and free, looping riffs that have the energy of improvisation.” On James McBride’s unusual, unorthodox biography of the unusual, unorthodox James Brown.
How to Sell author Clancy Martin, drawing on his previous career as a jeweler, kicks off a three-parter at the Paris Review blog about how a potential jewelry deal took him to New Orleans and he ended up out on the street, wearing a bath towel and a blazer.
University of Michigan researchers have revealed an incredible prototype technology – a braille tablet. Current designs only allow for one line of braille, but the new prototype displays full pages of text. Find out more and watch the project leader, Dr. Sile O’Modhrain, discuss the developments at BGR. Pair with our eReader cheat sheet.
“So much of the way books get classified has to do with marketing decisions. I think it’s more useful to think of literary books and sci-fi/fantasy books as existing on a continuum. To oppose them, to suggest that one category excludes the other, always feels bogus to me.” Talking with Karen Russell.
This Splitsider interview with Clarissa Explains It All creator Mitchell Kriegman is fantastic. Among the many revelations that come out of the interview is this gem: “The most amazing person that you would never guess worked on the show was [The Hunger Games author] Suzanne Collins. She was the quietest, nicest person. Like having JK Rowling working on your show!”
The late Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Dr. Manning Marable “informed his family that one of his passing wishes was to make his work available to incarcerated individuals.” His collection of authored works has recently been donated by his family to Otisville Correctional Facility.