The New York Public Library released more than 180,000 of its public-domain items, ranging from maps and manuscripts to ancient texts and sheet music. The files can be downloaded on the library’s website, available to the public without restriction.
It exists! The long-lost letter from Neal Cassady that inspired Jack Kerouac to write On the Road will be auctioned next month at Christies, ending an 18-month-long battle over its ownership and another 60-year-long battle over its existence. As Kerouac said, “It was the greatest piece of writing I ever saw, better’n anybody in America, or at least enough to make Melville, Twain, Dreiser, Wolfe, I dunno who, spin in their graves.”
Newsweek Senior Writer (and Millions contributor) Alexander Nazaryan has a new interview with William T. Vollmann up on Newsweek’s website. To start things off right, he reports that if Vollman were to win the Nobel Prize, he’d enjoy giving a decent chunk of the prize money to prostitutes.
“During various periods of my life I have succumbed to the siren call of sleeping pills. It is hard to resist their promise: one tablet, and your night will be purged. Your brain may be in overdrive, its receptors working away, hungrily awaiting more images and information, but like a computer it is forced into another mode. Yet the little white disks with a dent down the middle are no panacea; whenever I take one of these thought guillotines I feel trapped in a grey zone, seesawing between mid and shallow slumber, mind and body dulled but not of their own accord.” A lifelong insomniac recounts her long struggle with the illness.
Since we’re deep into the season of “year end” lists, here’s a list of ten great novels written by women that didn’t get a lot of critical attention this year. That isn’t to say that aren’t a ton of other books deserving of this distinction, just that these are some really good ones. Go list-crazy and pair with our own Year in Reading series.
From one muckracker to another: Thomas Frank on Mailer and Miami.Fear and Loathing at Build-a-Bear WorkshopThe folks at n+1 on Obama and the culture war reduxSarah, the book, nibbles at the edges of Amazon’s Top 10, sparking its own kind of culture war in the reviews section (scroll down)Can Palin! The Musical be far behind?A new tool for mapping bookstores, chain and indieFor Salvadoran novelist Horacio Castellanos Moya, politics are a genetic burdenFrank O’Hara…yeah, New York will do that to youJonathan Yardley on the venerable Elements of StyleDon’t blame me…I voted for Kodos