Who’s the Jimi Hendrix of Wordstock? Though it is unlikely to become a lasting cultural landmark the caliber of Woodstock, the recent Wordstock festival in Portland was nonetheless a runaway success for its 6,000 attendees. This piece on the London Book Fair has a decidedly different tone.
“We are not buried in history, but surrounded by it. You can’t avoid our behavior being shaped by it, to a considerable degree. We have this fantasy that we are free of history. This allows us not to see the circumstances, the historical circumstances of other people.” The Rumpus interviews Russell Banks about his new book Voyager: Travel Writings.
A spate of notable literary homes have dotted high-end real estate recently. Earlier, The Telegraph reported that Bran Castle, whose famed fictional occupants include Count Dracula from the eponymous novel by Bram Stoker, is seeking offers. Yesterday, Ray Bradbury’s cheery 3-bedroom yellow house was listed at at $1.5 million. Sadly, the more-affordable $350,000 home of beloved children’s book writer Beverly Clearly was snapped up last week. Writers hoping to add to the stock of literature-imprinted real estate, take note: Detroit nonprofit Write A House, which renovates vacant homes and awards them to writers and poets free of charge, is accepting applications until June 21.
With the full trailer out for the upcoming James Bond release, Skyfall, I have to confess I’m totally obsessing over British spy stuff of late. Luckily there are some supplements to scratch that itch: Tina Rosenberg’s new story for The Atavist, D for Deception, about a real British spy writer who became a spy himself; Bee Wilson’s fascinating review of Ben MacIntyre’s outrageous but true investigation of WWII double agents, Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies; Alexander Cockburn’s recap of the time George Orwell supplied “a list of the names of persons on the left who he deemed security risks” to the IRD; the story of Ernest Hemingway’s lousy espionage; and the video Her Royal Majesty’s recent skydiving escapade with 007.
Year in Reading alum Maria Popova of Brain Pickings writes her first book review for The New York Times on Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs by Lisa Randall, a Harvard cosmologist. Randall proposes ”that a thin disk of dark matter in the plane of the Milky Way triggered a minor perturbation in deep space that caused the major earthly catastrophe that decimated the dinosaurs.” Jenny Hendrix writes about modern-day extinction for The Millions.