Is the system rigged? Aaron Bady at The New Inquiry discusses the inherent evil of the canon and the general problem with lists. For more on why we care about literary awards in the first place, here is Mark O’Connell from The Millions.
“There is something terrifying but also fascinating about contemplating the end of humanity,” and on Oct. 25th our own Edan Lepucki and Emily St. John Mandel (whose novel Station Eleven was just shortlisted for the National Book Award) will be discussing their recent apocalyptic fictions at the Texas Book Festival.
Young Money author Kevin Roose provides a glimpse at “What the Future of Reading Looks Like.” His prediction does not bode well for the makers of e-readers, though, and it’s not because e-books are on the wane. On the contrary, it’s because “when people read e-books, they’re doing it on their existing tablets and smartphones, not on devices built expressly for reading,” he writes. (Related: this may have a positive effect when it comes to rising carbon emissions.)
“7 Awesome Ways Barnyard Animals Are Like Communism.” From McSweeneys, great literature retitled to boost website traffic.
Were you aware there’s a new BBC2 show about the lives of the Bloomsbury Group? There is, and it’s called Life in Squares, a reference to a quote that says the group “lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles.” In The New Statesman, Rachel Cooke sits down with the series. You could also read Alexis Coe on Virginia Woolf and Downton Abbey.
The Morning News has just launched a series on contemporary Russian literature. For this week’s installment Anna Starobinets provides an exerpt of her debut manuscript, An Awkward Age, and chats about her writing with Elizabeth Kiem. In the New Yorker, Sally McGrane profiles Boris Akunin, Russian writer of potboilers and political dissident.