Zadie Smith could write herself out of a Chinese takeout box, and that’s exactly what she does in her essay on the differences between British and American takeout culture, “Take It Or Leave It,” for The New Yorker. “I don’t think any nation should elevate service to the status of culture.”
The swanky new LA Review of Books website is live, and it’s a multimedia experience worth checking out. Users can select content by genre or article type, and the site’s author, contributor, and staff pages even come with fancy head shots to boot. Be sure to check out their upcoming events page as well.
“0.5 hrs: Read this week’s New Yorker fiction. 0.7 hrs: Hated on New Yorker writer with her derivative characters & mise-en-scenes. 0.1 hrs: Looked up ‘mise-en-scene’ on Wikipedia. 1.3 hrs: Phone call with writer friend; discussed how much New Yorker fiction sucks. 0.5 hrs: Drafted & emailed query letter to New Yorker (for super postmodern story).” The good people at McSweeney’s imagine an impossibly tedious world where writers and poets bill by the hour.
Would anyone write novels in a world without copyright? According to Tim Parks, they probably would not. For more on the relationship between the market and the product, see Parks’s essay on whether more money leads to better writing.
Just got a new e-reader for Christmas but afraid to overspend too easily? Many public domain books are classics, ones that you might want to revisit from school or others that you feel guilty for not having read. Here is a list of 10 free books. Or, if you’re more interested in paying for newer titles, you can check out our cheat sheet of the favorites of Millions readers and places to find more.