Beat poet Allen Ginsberg once threw out a surprisingly decent first pitch at a San Francisco Giants game while wearing a pocket protector. Seriously. Here’s our own Bill Morris with a little more on Ginsberg, Beats, and film.
This summer Antosha Chekhonte’s (aka Anton Chekhov‘s) first book The Prank will finally be published after more than 130 years of waiting, and it’s been described as “frankly indispensable for readers of Chekhov, or Russian literature, or comedic literature, or parody, or any and all literature” generally. Pair with our own Sonya Chung‘s essay, “I Heart Chekhov.”
Lolita has been, for decades, a great inspiration to cover designers, and all those great covers inspired architect John Bertram to hold his own cover design contest to see who could best re-imagine Nabokov’s classic. The resulting competition has now inspired a book, coming in August, with a cover by designers Sulki & Min that references a letter Nabokov sent to his American publisher, Walter J. Minton of Putnam, in April 1959 about the cover design for Lolita. “I want pure colors, melting clouds, accurately drawn details, a sunburst above a receding road with the light reflected in furrows and ruts, after rain. And no girls. If we cannot find that kind of artistic and virile painting, let us settle for an immaculate white jacket (rough texture paper instead of the usual glossy kind), with LOLITA in bold black lettering.” More: An interview with Bertram.
New this week: Paul Auster’s latest, Sunset Park; a new collection of short stories from Stephen King called Full Dark, No Stars; The Memory Hole, a memoir by the historian Tony Judt who recently died from ALS (the essays collected here appeared in recent months in the New York Review of Books); and the latest obligatory obfuscatory presidential memoir Decision Points.
“‘It’s important to realize how the funniness in these videos [such as those featuring Kai the axe-wielding hitchhiker and Uncle Ruslan] is really close to something that’s desperately unfunny,’ says Mark O’Connell, who wrote Epic Fail: Bad Art, Viral Fame, and the History of the Worst Thing Ever.”
“Marx the anti-Communist is an unfamiliar figure; but there were undoubtedly times when he shared the view of the liberals of his day and later, in which communism (assuming anything like it could be achieved) would be detrimental to human progress.” Wait, what? The New York Review of Books reviews Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life.