“When danger or pain press too nearly, they are incapable of giving any delight, and are simply terrible; but at certain distances and with certain modifications, they may be, and they are delightful, as we every day experience. The cause of this I shall endeavour to investigate further.” David Shields quotes Edmund Burke in an interview about his new book War Is Beautiful.
The Corrections might never make it to screen, but Jonathan Franzen’s New Yorker essay on songbird poaching, “Emptying the Skies” (behind the paywall), is already a documentary. The film follows a group of bird lovers trying to save the endangered animals and even includes an interview with Franzen. Although the documentary just found a distributor, there is no word on an official release date. Until then, here’s the trailer.
“I have come to realize how much I have, throughout my life, bought into the narrative of this alluring myth of personal responsibility and excellence. I realize how much I believe that all good things will come if I—if we—just work hard enough.” Year in Reading alum Roxane Gay writes for VQR Online about “The Price of Black Ambition.” Pair with our review of An Untamed State.
Another Tumblog is being made into a book, this time with a little help from David Shields. Jeff, One Lonely Guy is a collection of recorded conversations and correspondences that were the result of one guy, Jeff Ragsdale , posting a flyer with his phone number all over NYC. Shields is helping Ragsdale arrange the responses he received for publication as an ebook. Ragsdale isn’t, according to his Tumblr, all that lonely anymore. Which makes me wonder how Mark Z. Danielewski’s fairing on OK Cupid?
If you get bored on your daily commute, you might want to look at Derive, an app that generates random routes that give you new perspectives on your city. As The Common founder (and Millions contributor) Jennifer Acker puts it: “Let the French show you how to walk.”
After the passing of Gabriel García Márquez, the team of Reed Johnson, Juan Forero, and Sara Munoz had cause to opine within the pages of the Wall Street Journal, who are the other “post-boom Spanish-language fiction writers whose works continue to redraw the map of Latin literature?” They list six suggestions, but I think one of the names on that list would’ve disagreed with the comparison. (Bonus: An unpublished Márquez manuscript may be on the way as well.)