Agatha Christie could actually kill you. She studied pharmacology and learned how to create poisons, which led to her use of poisons in her novels. You could also read Daniel Friedman’s essay on solving the mystery of how to close a crime novel.
The Smithsonian has a good reminder about the links between design and history, about how time can seemingly erode the politics behind an aesthetic movement, about the relationships between images and texts, about how Italian futurism may still look cool but came from a group of sexist and at least partially fascist men.
F. Scott Fitzgerald called himself "a moralist at heart," which might be why Kathryn Schulz finds The Great Gatsby to be "aesthetically overrated, psychologically vacant, and morally complacent."
Coming in 2012: Pop-Hop Books & Curio. Located in the Highland Park neighborhood on the east side of Los Angeles, Pop-Hop will be "a creative retail environment merging a bookstore and project space." More information, as well as some opportunities to support the project, are available at the shop's Kickstarter page, and also on its Facebook page.
The political unrest in Moscow is significant and worth covering, but it's important to verify the facts. Over the weekend, a picture of an enormous crowd went viral, and it was billed as an image of anti-Putin demonstrations. This is not true. The image is actually from a 1991 rally in which protesters called for Mikhail Gorbachev's resignation. It even appears in this Atlantic article from December, 2011.
We celebrated Canada Day a bit early here yesterday with the news that Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature and our review of Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam. So what is Canadian literature exactly? Atwood offered her definition for The Daily Beast: "It’s too multiple [to give a concise definition], but let us say that the point of view (if the writer is not pretending to be American, which they often are) is never that of someone who feels that their country is an imperial power. Because, in fact, Canada is not an imperial power." You can also see The Handmaid's Tale at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet next week.