“Historians, I believe, are dedicated to fighting against the tide of our social amnesia. The reason they continue to write books about the Holocaust, or Appomatox, or the earthquake in Haiti, is to try to help us remember the suffering and the extent of the damage. Some try to humanize, and others turn to abstraction.” Stewart L. Sinclair writes on burying the remnants of disaster, over at Guernica. Pair with his Millions essay on technology and Apple’s operating systems.
“It all adds up to a fascinating portrait-of-the-artist-on-the-make in the booming 1950s. And it makes you wish the stories were better.” Year-in-Reading alum Jess Walter reviews a new (911-page) collection of stories by Kurt Vonnegut. See also: “2 B R 0 2 B”, a “lost” Vonnegut story that first appeared in the sci-fi journal Worlds of If in January 1962.
Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals, died today at the age of 88, according to a statement released by his publisher. Pirsig's work explored a system of thought called the "Metaphysics of Quality," which has been defined as "a thesis that quality is the basis of reality, and that this understanding unifies most East Asian and Western thought."
On the heels of a New Mexico school district banning Neverwhere because a mother considered it "R-rated," Neil Gaiman delivered a lecture for the Reading Agency about the importance of libraries and reading for children. "It's tosh. It's snobbery and it's foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different," he said about banning books.
Christopher Lee, perhaps best known to American audiences as the man who played Count Dooku (Star Wars) and Saruman (Lord of the Rings), is also an accomplished singer and musician. Evidently, he’s also quite literary, as his most recent project — The Metal Knight — demonstrates. To wit: the album was inspired by Don Quixote. (Trailer here.)