“‘What pleases the PUBLIC is always what’s most banal,’ he wrote to his brother in 1883. But nowadays Van Gogh pleases the public enormously. So has he become banal?” Julian Barnes reflects on Van Gogh’s life and work and how our perception of him has changed over time in a London Review of Books podcast. Interested in contemporary art? Check out our own Bill Morris’s piece on the Whitney Museum.
A new Pew Research Center survey finds that the share of Americans who have read a book in the last 12 months – 73% – has remained largely unchanged since 2012. And when people do reach for a book, it is much more likely to be a traditional print book than a digital product. See also our essay on the persistence of physical books and, of course, The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books, edited by our own C. Max Magee.
All of Faulkner’s characters exist in the same county, so they probably ran into each other. What if there were a Real Housewives of Yoknapatawpha County? Nathan Pensky humorously imagines the feuds between As I Lay Dying’s Addie Bundren and the protagonist of “A Rose for Emily” among others at McSweeney’s.