“If to live is to suffer, and surviving is to find meaning in the suffering, does this explain why I have to spend precious time and money at work happy hours?” Existentialism for Millennials.
New this week: Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie; The Visiting Privilege by Joy Williams; The Lost Landscape by Joyce Carol Oates; This is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison; Cries for Help, Various by Padgett Powell; and Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
"How are their vacations? Do they inspire envy in a way that’s beguiling, or merely crass? Are they eating in the right places?" In the past year, 30 billion photographs were uploaded to Instagram; 80 million go up every day. On the iPhone as camera lucida. Related: the pornification of food.
Want to make your writing shorter? Revise more. At The New York Times, Danny Heitman discusses the art of brevity. "Like passengers in a lifeboat, all the words in a concise text must pull their own weight." Pair with: Our own Edan Lepucki's essay on the challenges and benefits of brevity.
A recent survey of 19th century British literature uncovered advertising subtly placed within classic texts by authors like Dickens, Austen, and Thackeray. From Vanity Fair, for example: “‘My sisters say she has diamonds as big as pigeons' eggs,’ George said, laughing. ‘How they must set off her complexion! Surely she avails herself of Madame A.T. Rowley's Toilet Mask (or Face Gloves)...’” (via Book Bench)
“But upon learning that the unmarried 60-something Ms. Welty was a fan, the 50-something Macdonald — Ken Millar, to use his real name, as he does in these letters — dashed off a note of thanks. A reply followed within a week.” On a new book of letters between Eudora Welty and Ross MacDonald. You could also read Jonathan Clarke on the letters of Willa Cather.