“An ambidextrous cardsharp, who took losing as a personal insult; a proletarian agitator, who dressed like a dandy; a germ-fearing hypochondriac, smoking 100 cigarettes a day; a lady-killer with rotten teeth, causing a string of abortions wherever he went.” On the Soviet poet Mayakovksy.
For the theory-obsessed, soon-to-be liberal arts graduate on your list: the essential Verso Books undergraduate reading list.
On the Media‘s Bob Garfield hosts “The Genius Dialogues,” a new interview podcast featuring recipients of the MacArthur Foundation’s so-called genius grants. First-season guests include Radiolab creator Jad Abumrad; Luis von Ahn, founder of the language learning app DuoLingo; microbiologist Manu Prakash; choreographer Elizabeth Streb; and writer and producer David Simon. We’ve hosted a few geniuses here as well, including Ben Lerner, Yiyun Li, and Karen Russell.
Recently Salman Rushdie spoke at a conference in Delhi. He had been scheduled to appear with the Pakistani politician Imran Khan, who later pulled out of the event citing the “immeasurable hurt” that The Satanic Verses had done to Muslims. Rushdie, who had earlier been prevented from attending the Jaipur literary festival for fear of his presence inciting a riot, dismissed Khan’s claims: “The chilling effect of violence is very real and it is growing in this country.”
“Just because I’m a woman, don’t assume that I automatically empathize with a brooding 20-something Elizabeth-Bennett-type protagonist. (Trust me, I don’t.) This doesn’t mean I can’t design … a biography on Susan Sontag—or, for that matter, a spy novel, a political satire, or a memoir about a Japanese game show host set in outer space. I can do all of these things. Because it’s my job to design book covers.” Over at The Literary Hub, a cover designer wonders why she’s always offered a particular type of book.