“We live, in short, with local exceptions, in a dissociated world held together by fragile links of utility and self-promotion underpinned by laws of mutual advantage—a materialist ethos and cosmos that cannot but influence cultural representations and, hence, art, including poetry.” On John Donne and the humanity in art.
Amazon has partnered with the Wylie Agency to acquire exclusive ebook rights to 20th century classics by the likes of Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, Louise Erdrich, John Cheever, Hunter S. Thompson, William S. Burroughs, Orhan Pamuk, V.S. Naipaul, Martin Amis, and Jorge Luis Borges. The venture is called Odyssey Editions. These books will be available in ebook form exclusively on the Kindle for the next two years.
The huge, McSweeney’s-published, John Sayles novel A Moment in the Sun has been getting great reviews. It’s now out. Also new this week is China Mieville’s Embassytown, reviewed here today; Paul Theroux’s exploration of the genre of travel writing, The Tao of Travel; prizewinning Nigerian author Helon Habila’s new novel Oil on Water; and A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman, the complete stories of Margaret Drabble, recently written up by Joyce Carol Oates in the New Yorker. New in paperback are a pair of Millions Hall of Famers, Emma Donoghue’s Room and Justin Cronin’s The Passage.
Did you major in social sciences or the humanities as an undergraduate? If so, it might’ve been because someone in your family had a mood disorder or a problem with substance abuse. A new survey published by Princeton University posits that “a family history of psychiatric conditions, such as autism and depression, could influence the subjects a person finds engaging.”
Evidently, Alain de Botton has recovered from the unfavorable New York Times review of his latest book, The Pleasures of Sorrow and Work, for which he excoriated reviewer Caleb Crain, claiming that Crain “killed [his] book in the United States.” De Botton was just named Heathrow Airport’s first writer-in-residence. During his week tenure at a desk in Terminal 5, he will record his observations in “real time,” with his typing appearing on a screen behind him. Afterward, the entries will be collected and published as a book, A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary.
Argentina may be offering a $940/month pension plan for writers. Eligibility requirements include 20 years of work in “literary creation” and five published works with ISBN numbers. This bill was proposed amidst the festivities of the Buenos Aires International Book Expo, one of the biggest book expos in the world.