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.
Though the world may never know whether reading the greats makes you a better person, according to a recent study, those who take an active interest in the arts are more likely to be altruistic.
The t-shirt team at kafkacotton has generously offered to extend a special deal to readers of The Millions (knowing, I assume, that you bookish folks will dig t-shirts that cleverly proclaim their love for classic books). Use the discount code “THEMILLIONS” to get 10% off. Remember to put the discount code in the “Message to Seller” box. Then, I’m told, you can either immediately pay the full price and they’ll issue you a refund for the discount amount or you can wait for kafkacotton to send you a revised, discounted invoice. Thanks for setting up this deal kafkacotton!
I’ve gotten a little behind in my reviews of books I’ve read recently. Maybe I’ll get to it this weekend or early next week. In the meantime here are three literary links that caught my eye today:The many challenges of turning books with non-textual elements into audiobooks. Also discussed: how to verbally render David Foster Wallace’s copious footnotes. (New York Times).Daedalus, the big remainder house, is opening a standalone bookstore in Baltimore (Baltimore Sun). Previously: I discuss remaindered books – and buy some, too!A mysterious person – or possibly persons – has been placing roses and a bottle of cognac on Edgar Allen Poe’s grave each year for 57 years on the anniversary of the writer’s birthday. This year some nosy people got in the way, but the meaning behind the ritual and the identity of the visitor remains hidden. (Guardian)
“The last line of Saul Bellow’s ‘A Single Dish’ is nothing like poetry. I can’t tell you what any single one of those words means. Imagine you’re a lexicographer and you have to define the word that, or how. And on top of this, there’s none of Bellow’s typical play with rhythm and language—it’s almost a non-sentence. And yet, when I get to it in the story, I weep.” Ethan Canin at The Atlantic on how Saul Bellow packs so much emotion into a single sentence. Here are a couple Bellow-related Millions links for your perusing pleasure.
Always pushing the envelope in terms of how we think about books, Reif Larsen has just announced an iPad app for his novel The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet. As the demo video suggests, this something with much more depth and interaction than just a simple port from print to digital.
Amazon has unveiled its “Kindle Singles” store. Says Amazon: “Typically between 5,000 and 30,000 words, each Kindle Single is intended to allow a single killer idea — well researched, well argued and well illustrated — to be expressed at its natural length.” In practice, this appears to mean short stories as well as journalistic pieces that have (perhaps) been expanded upon. For example, a piece from n+1 is included, “Octomom and the Politics of Babies” by Mark Greif. Amazon writes that in this piece Greif “updates his insightful essay from last spring, where only the journal’s 10,000 readers had access to his dead-on critique of the American media culture that produced its own eight-headed monster.” Bottom line: Amazon is fishing for higher quality content at the low price points that Amazon readers have come to crave.