I hope you had your Wheaties this morning, because this one is a doozy. Scientists at Poland’s Institute of Nuclear Physics have discovered complex “fractal” sentence patterning in classic works of literature that is nearly identical to “ideal” mathematics. Maybe Finnegans Wake does make sense, after all.
“There is a term in the legal world for such instructions — dead hand control — and, although compliance has varied and enforceability is debatable, they have been attempted by artists from Franz Kafka to a Beastie Boy.” The New York Times explores the potential impact of Edward Albee‘s will on his work, including his instruction that any manuscripts incomplete at the time of his death be destroyed. Pairs perfectly with Aaron Hamburger‘s recollection of staying at the famous playwright’s place out in Long Island for an artists’ residency.
“Creating a unique package for a book is really about making potential readers see the book as a singular thing in a sea of sameness. Something that has a soul.” Jason Booher talks with Slate Book Review about the process of designing book covers in general and the cover of Forensic Songs, dubbed “the most awesome book cover of the summer,” in particular.
The Guardian asked a bunch of authors, including Hilary Mantel, Geoff Dyer, and Ian Rankin, which books they “regularly reread and which novels they are desperate to unlock the secrets of.” Check out John Banville’s abiding fixation on the works on F. Scott Fitzgerald.
What happens when two magazine writers publish stories on the same topic within a month of each other? We get to read some of the best long-form journalism of the year. Both Esquire’s Chris Jones and The Washingtonian’s Garrett M. Graff wrote about what it was like to be on Air Force One after the Kennedy assassination. Jones’ “The Flight From Dallas” hits 7,600 words, but Graff’s “Angel is Airborne” totals 18,000. Save some time to read both because they’re equally gripping and uniquely told narratives.
Equal parts voyeuristically indulgent and unapologetically stimulating, Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books is the second installment in Yale University Press’s ongoing series, a journey into the personal libraries of thirteen favorite authors. This installment? Alison Bechdel, Stephen Carter, Junot Díaz, Rebecca Goldstein, and more.
“A name serves as a gateway to knowing someone, and usually the person with the aberrant name must create the opportunities. One way is to change her name.” S. Isabel Choi writes on why she chose to go by Isabel in high school. Pair with a piece on growing up with a Paraguayan name in the U.S.