“I was interested enough in WikiLeaks, state transparency, and emergent opposition networks to do five years in prison over such things, but I wasn’t interested enough that I would have voluntarily plowed through 500 pages of badly plotted failed-marriage razzmatazz by an author who’s long past his expiration date simply in order to learn what the Great King of the Honkies thinks about all this.” Barrett Brown reviews Jonathan Franzen’s Purity from prison. Pair with our own Lydia Kiesling’s review of the book.
In the Times Book Review, Year in Reading alum and Edinburgh author Alexander Chee reviews Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, a Millions contributor. He describes the book as, among other things, a departure from your average literary thriller: “If we know this story, we haven’t seen it yet in American fiction, not until now.”
“Per one estimate, 96 of the 154 sonnets credited to Shakespeare contain rhymes that have since been lost to linguistic history.” The Atlantic writes on why we should be laughing more when we read Shakespeare. If you’d prefer to revere him, here’s a piece on Shakespeare as God.
With college football season officially upon us, I’d like to take some time to recommend some books and articles on the subject of my favorite game. For starters, check out Nick Ripatrazone’s Millions piece about Don DeLillo, sports scandals, and growing up with the game. Next, Taylor Branch’s quintessential ebook on the NCAA’s cartel-like stranglehold on the sport deserves a read from anybody who’s ever participated in or watched college athletics of any kind. (You can get a good idea of the book from his Atlantic piece, too.) And lastly, I recommend checking out John U. Bacon’s latest book, Fourth and Long, which examines how “money, influence and power haunt the league.” (You may recall Bacon’s name from when I reviewed his earlier book on college football last year.)
Beer bongs are never a good idea. Besides the killer hangover you’ll inevitably wake up with the next morning, you might also steal literary art. When Mitchel Potter was a frat boy in 1987, he stole a bronze bust of Robert Frost from Wichita State University and hid it in his basement for 25 years until someone tipped off the police. Ironically, Potter didn’t even know who Frost was, but the prosecutor read “The Road Not Taken” at his trial.
Look, it’s hard being the bloodthirsty kingpin of a multinational drug smuggling cartel. Apparently Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has been feeling a bit sorry for himself post-capture, so what did Eduardo Guerrero, head of Mexico’s prison systems, think would cheer him up? He brought him a copy of Don Quixote.