Check out a new essay from Zadie Smith in NYRB on the uncanny, Schopenhauer, and Anomalisa. “That we believe ourselves to be separate from each other, and separate from the apparent objects of our desire, was, for Schopenhauer, the root of our suffering.” For more on Smith, read our review of NW.
At Page-Turner, Daphne Merkin reads Catherine Lacey’s Nobody Is Ever Missing, which follows the journey of a disenchanted New Yorker as she hitchhikes her way through New Zealand. The novel, Merkin writes, features what Leslie Jamison, in her recent essay collection, termed a “post-wounded woman.”
Tim Parks investigates the idea of “writing to death” in the cases of Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, Anton Chekhov, Charles Dickens and William Faulkner. “So many of the writers I have looked at seem permanently torn between irreconcilable positions,” Parks writes. “Eventually, the dilemma driving the work either leads to death, or is neutralized in a way that prolongs life but dulls the writing” (Bonus: Our own Mark O’Connell just reviewed Parks’s latest book, Italian Ways.)
Following the news that The Simpsons will now be available for online streaming for the first time, Myles McNutt makes the case that the world needs a Simpsons Clip Database. He justifies his sentiment by pointing out that “in a world where Simpsons references are a language for a certain generation, the ability to stream this content has tremendous value, and could push use of an app that otherwise would struggle to compete with services like Netflix.”
A new Pew Research Center survey finds that the share of Americans who have read a book in the last 12 months – 73% – has remained largely unchanged since 2012. And when people do reach for a book, it is much more likely to be a traditional print book than a digital product. See also our essay on the persistence of physical books and, of course, The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books, edited by our own C. Max Magee.