The new year ushered in more than soon-to-be-broken resolutions. This January 1, a vast cache of works released in 1923 entered the public domain—including tens of thousands of books. Here’s how to download them for free, and here’s what all this means for publishers and readers alike. Happy hunting.
We all probably had the humiliating experience of reciting a poem in high school. Yet at Salon, Nina Kang believes that memorizing poetry is a lost art. She blames the loss of the discipline on our tendency to skim and new poetry’s seeming aversion to memorization. “Writers actively fight against the appearance of artifice, and often instead strive for an informal, offhand tone, with that hint of clumsiness that lends a certain authenticity to the voice. It turns out this is a quality that makes the reciter’s job that much more difficulty.” Here’s our take on the lost art of recitation.
“I have this belief that you have to save at least half of your crucial experiences. The ones that are crystalline. The ones that you always can recall. And you recall that every detail—what actors call a sense impression. You remember how things smelled, what they felt like, how you felt at the moment. You remember every single last part of this episode, or moment in your life.” This interview with Norman Mailer from The Paris Review never actually made it to print, which makes it all the more fascinating.
“As everyday existence becomes more punitive for all but the monied few, more and more frustrated, volatile individuals will seek each other out online, aggravate whatever lethal fairy tale suits their pathology, and, ultimately, transfer their rage from the screen world to the real one.” Gary Indiana reviews Masha Gessen’s The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy for the London Review of Books.
We’ve written a fair bit about the By the Book series at the Times. You can read a selection of the best entries in a collection published by the paper. This week, the series featured another novel guest: Alan Gilbert, the conductor of the New York Philharmonic. Sample quote: “I don’t seek out books about music. I’ve read them over the years, but somehow, as a genre, it isn’t something I am specifically looking for.”