In honor of Lolita’s 60th anniversary, Alexandra Kleeman, Josephine Livingstone, Anna Wiener, and seven other writers reread Nabokov’s magnum opus. Pair with this Millions essay about designing the book cover.
Thanks to recent advancements in digital scanning technology, it looks like the Herculaneum scrolls will be made legible after some two thousand years. The new technique allows for close study of the scrolls without causing irreparable damage to the papyrus via exposure to the moisture in the air, an issue which had dogged scholars for centuries. If the impermanence and tenuousness of writing is more your speed, here’s a bit on Twitter, instead.
“Maybe our anointed literary books just have to be earnest ones because earnest ones showcase that soupçon of intelligence. Maybe humor isn’t felt to indicate a genuine commitment to looking smart.” Year in Reading alum Lydia Millet talks with Jenny Offill about humor writing, what books are “anointed” as modern classics, and Millet’s new book, Mermaids in Paradise.
“What do I want to say with this new language that I can’t say in my native language—or any other language that currently exists?” From The Lord of the Rings to A Game of Thrones, Josephine Livingstone explores the history of invented languages, over at The New Republic.
“A colouring book, Colouring in the Lions, will head the list for children and feature vintage art from the NYPL archive. Also planned is a yet-to-be-titled picture book featuring Patience and Fortitude – the two lion statues that stand at the entrance to the library’s main building – and a YA novel based on the true story of a family who lived in the library.” The Guardian reports on a partnership between the New York Public Library and Macmillan publishers to produce five to eight books per year inspired by the library’s collections.
Do you love poetry, but often wish you were monitored on more government watchlists? Well, now you can scratch both of those itches by purchasing Poetry of the Taliban, a new anthology endorsed by and published on the group’s website. Unsurprisingly, the book has garnered its share of criticism, but as Melville House’s Kelly Burdick notes, it also has a coalition of allies and proponents.