At The Atlantic, Sara Polsky wonders if library cards are dying and discusses their history and evolution. Pair with this Millions essay on private libraries and what books reveal about their readers.
The results of this year’s Goodreads Choice Awards are in, and a debut novelist took home Favorite Book of 2011 honors. Veronica Roth, author of Divergent, thanks her fans in this video. Other notable winners include Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 and Tina Fey’s Bossypants, which won the Best Fiction and Best Humor categories, respectively. (They were also reviewed on The Millions here and here, respectively.)
Lolita has been, for decades, a great inspiration to cover designers, and all those great covers inspired architect John Bertram to hold his own cover design contest to see who could best re-imagine Nabokov’s classic. The resulting competition has now inspired a book, coming in August, with a cover by designers Sulki & Min that references a letter Nabokov sent to his American publisher, Walter J. Minton of Putnam, in April 1959 about the cover design for Lolita. “I want pure colors, melting clouds, accurately drawn details, a sunburst above a receding road with the light reflected in furrows and ruts, after rain. And no girls. If we cannot find that kind of artistic and virile painting, let us settle for an immaculate white jacket (rough texture paper instead of the usual glossy kind), with LOLITA in bold black lettering.” More: An interview with Bertram.
What do you get if you combine Man Ray with some of the most celebrated artistic figures of 1920’s Paris such as Ernest Hemingway, Lee Miller, and Marcel Duchamp? The answer is: some predictably fantastic portraits. For more on Man Ray, here’s a moving essay on how his Hollywood Album redefined Liska Jacobs’ idea of a “life’s work.”
“On closer inspection, however, the book comes off as something more complicated than a flowering of one eccentric and filthy man’s erotic imagination. Its elaborate descriptions of pleasure given and taken start to seem like scrims for a moral argument about what sorts of sexual behaviors should be ‘forbid’ and which should be encouraged—an argument refined in prison by an author deeply occupied with thoughts of punishment, dissipation, and sin.” On John Cleland’s (very erotic) novel Fanny Hill and the importance of its having been written in prison.
I’m thinking about installing a Delaney Nolan bat signal to alert the world of her new work whenever it appears. Previously I’ve evangelized about her writing in Guernica, Necessary Fiction, Sundog Lit, and The Rumpus, but this time I’d like to call attention to her photo essay about New Orleans in the latest issue of Oxford American.