“Armand’s characters all seem both hugely present and in life’s juice and simultaneously dead, as if rent of brain, nerves, chest, stomach, intestines … Without gods and devils these patients feel that only fire can save them, existing eternally unless burned away.” Australian novelist Louis Armand’s newest, Abacus, is reviewed by Richard Marshall at 3:AM Magazine.
Recommended Listening: Part One of Jhumpa Lahiri’s conversation with Paul Holdengraber at Lit Hub. “You know, tell me about something I don’t know. Tell me about a musician I’ve never heard of. Tell me about a poet I should be reading. Tell me something about the world, a situation that someone can explain to me in more detail.”
We've mentioned the "What books have stayed with you?" social media trend before, and now Facebook has tallied up the most popular titles by country. The results are both exactly what you would expect - The Little Prince ranks high in France, One Hundred Years of Solitude fairs well in Latin America - and a little surprising as the Harry Potter series tops the list in countries ranging from India to Italy to Brazil.
In an effort to adjust more comfortably to the modern age, the Merriam-Webster company is revamping its iconic dictionary, the first to focus mainly on American English. At Slate, Stefan Fatsis considers the changes, which raise the question of what a modern dictionary should look like. Related: our own Bill Morris on the American Heritage Dictionary.