Everyone is talking about Nobel Prize winning Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich. Allow Jonathon Sturgeon at Flavorwire to explain why he believes Alexievich’s victory is a step in the right direction for the Prize.
Recommended Reading: a piece from the New York Review of Books blog on modern attention spans and what they mean for literature. Hint: it’s not looking too promising. Tim Parks closes with a prediction that “the novel of elegant, highly distinct prose, of conceptual delicacy and syntactical complexity, will tend to divide itself up into shorter and shorter sections, offering more frequent pauses where we can take time out. The larger popular novel, or the novel of extensive narrative architecture, will be ever more laden with repetitive formulas, and coercive, declamatory rhetoric to make it easier and easier, after breaks, to pick up, not a thread, but a sturdy cable.”
Millions favorite Geoff Dyer, author of Otherwise Known as the Human Condition, is going to start writing a column for The New York Times‘ Book Review. “Reading Life” will detail “the ups and down of his long relationship with the written word. What do we do to books and what do books do to us? How do they delight and derange?” His first column can be found here.
At The Washington Post, Michael Dirda on the dissolute genius Thomas De Quincey (opium addict, original chronicler of addiction, master of the macabre, prolific C19th essayist).
Looking for something to watch this weekend? Got Hulu Plus? Well, start working your way through the veritable treasure trove that is the Criterion Collection. And don’t worry. If you’re as overwhelmed by the selection as I am, this top ten list by filmmaker Dean Peterson can serve as a great guide. Also, for what it’s worth, I’m partial to Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev.