“[YOU can only speak to what you experienced outside several seconds after your coworker entered the building, but several seconds before YOU yourself reached your cubicle. YOU do not know if it is in fact still raining out. YOU say nothing and are forever plagued by the unknowable nature of the immediate present.]” These short existentialist plays starring you and your coworkers are sure to stir up some feelings of gloom, doom, and familiarity.
“This test protocol was designed so X-ray operators could have a clearer view of carry-on baggage at checkpoints. Like many tests TSA performs at checkpoints around the country, we collected valuable data but, at this time, are no longer testing or instituting these procedures.” Inside Higher Ed reports that the U.S. Transportation Security Administration has abandoned a program that required passengers to remove books from their carry-on luggage during security screenings. And we have just the reading recommendations for flying for you, too.
What was the very first ebook? It’s hard to say with any degree of precision, but a pretty good candidate is Peter James’s Host, which was copied and stored on a floppy disk back in 1993. At The Guardian, a look back at the early life of the format. You could also read David Rothman’s tribute to the ebook pioneer Michael Hart. (h/t The Paris Review)
Out this week: Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson; Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh; A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin; The Incarnations by Susan Barker; The Automobile Club of Egypt by Alaa Al Aswany; Darkness the Color of Snow by Thomas Cobb; The Investigation by J.M. Lee; and Browsings by the Washington Post critic Michael Dirda. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
In memory of Peter Matthiessen, The Missouri Review has unlocked an interview with him from 1989. Matthiessen detailed the beginning of his writing career. “I started my first novel and sent off about four chapters and waited by the post office for praise to roll in, calls from Hollywood, everything. Finally my agent sent me a letter that said ‘Dear Peter, James Fenimore Cooper wrote this a hundred and fifty years ago, only he wrote it better. Yours, Bernice.’ I probably needed that; it was very healthy.” For more Matthiessen, you can read one of his best travel essays or his new novel, In Paradise.
The New York Times Magazine published an excerpt of the latest novel by Dave Eggers. The book, titled The Circle, follows Mae Holland, a woman who takes a job at a Google-esque company dubbed “the most influential in the world.” At Reuters, Felix Salmon critiques the book’s take on Silicon Valley.
Poet and essayist Adrienne Rich passed way this afternoon at the age of 82, the LA Times confirms. Her influence on writing and activism is immeasurable, and this is a sad day of all of literature. The Poetry Foundation’s short biography of the poet is not to be missed, and nor are her poems “Final Notions,” and “For the Dead.”