Important Indiegogo Alert: Kenneth James is editing the personal journals of novelist and critic Samuel R. Delany in a five-volume series. The first volume is complete, and James is asking for a bit of help to complete the second. Neil Gaiman has offered substantial monetary support.
We’ve all had that annoying moment of finding the perfect word to win Scrabble with, except that word doesn’t count. Now, Scrabble is letting players nominate a new word to enter its dictionary. You can submit on Facebook. Just do us a favor, and nominate something better than “hashtag” or “selfie.”
Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue (as seen in our Book Preview; and excerpted here) is due to hit shelves early September, and everybody seems pretty excited about it. How excited? Well, the book will come with an “enhanced e-book” replete with multimedia features, and the publishers have also decided to create a pop-up version of Brokeland Records, one of the novel’s main settings.
Fresh on the heels of his gargantuan New York Times Magazine profile, as well as the announcement that he’s led Jon Huntsman Jr. in the South Carolina polls, political prankster Stephen Colbert has decided to run for “president of the United States of South Carolina.” This, of course, is not the first time he’s pulled this stunt, but it is the first time he’s done it with this much funding. All of this raises the question of whether this is political satire or “School House Rock on Steroids.” But don’t get too excited. Apparently folks from the Palmetto State will not actually be able to vote for him.
The practice of naming children after a dead sibling was surprisingly common up until the late-nineteenth century–Salvador Dali, Ludwig Van Beethoven, and Vincent Van Gogh were each “necroynms,” or the second of their name. Jeannie Vasco’s essay for The Believer on necronyms and grief is perfect to read alongside this essay for The Millions by Chloe Benjamin on naming not humans, but novels.
On August 1st, 1914, Germany declared war on Russia. Also, Franz Kafka went swimming. Moreover, the Metamorphosis author mentioned both events in his diary, writing simply and strangely that “Germany has declared war on Russia — went swimming in the afternoon.” Was this odd phrasing intentional or a sign of the author’s self-absorption? In an article for Open Letters Monthly, Robert Minto reads all three volumes of Reiner Stach’s new biography.