Out this week: The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies; Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch; Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy; The Revolutionaries Try Again by Mauro Javier Cardenas; Perfume River by Robert Olen Butler; Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil; Words on the Move by John McWhorter; The Pigeon Tunnel by John le Carré; Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly; The Art of Waiting by Belle Boggs; Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild; and Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.
In 1992, William Gibson published Agrippa, a poem coded on a floppy disk such that after one reading it would destroy itself forever. Quinn DuPont, a PhD student studying cryptography, built an emulation of the self-destructing poem and has a challenge to cyberpunks and cryptographers: be the first person to crack the poem’s code and win a copy of every one of Gibson’s books ever published.
The Man Booker International prize was just awarded to Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai, author of Satantango (later adapted for film by Béla Tarr) and Seiobo There Below. When asked to recommend a starting point for readers who have yet to encounter his work, the author defers: “I couldn’t recommend anything … instead, I’d advise them to go out, sit down somewhere, perhaps by the side of a brook, with nothing to do, nothing to think about, just remaining in silence like stones. They will eventually meet someone who has already read my books.” Well, if a stream isn’t handy, we have a few ideas: our own interview with Krasznahorkai, Stephanie Newman’s review of Seiobo There Below, and Music and Literature’s issue no. 2, featuring literature on and by Krasznahorkai and Béla Tarr.
Book Riot offers a step-by-step guide to making your own book covers out of paper bags. Not saying this was a thing we did as kids, particularly when jacket design didn’t meet expectations – a certain Dover edition of the Francis Hodgson Burnett classic A Little Princess comes to mind – but not not saying that either.
The New York Public Library has bought psychedelic guru Timothy Leary’s papers. The 335 boxes contain journals, videotapes, photographs and thousands of letters from avid trippers, including Allen Ginsberg, Aldous Huxley, William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey and, yes, Cary Grant.
The Walking Tour is drawing ever nearer! Get all the details and RSVP if you want to be notified of any schedule changes.In the NYRB, Mark Danner examines the politics of torture, and J.M. Coetzee gets deep inside Samuel Beckett’s head.James Wood finger-drumming on YouTube is just the most weirdly hypnotic thing we’ve ever seen.Typewriter-part art. (via The Rumpus)A new front runner in the coolest bookshelf contest. Think of it – geographic classification! (for American lit only)”Geoff Dyer book unlikely to win Bad Sex Award“Jane Austen got rejection letters too.Wow. A new Kurt Vonnegut collection is on the way. Amazon has it listed.A glimmer of good news in the newspaper business?Audrey Niffenegger is having a pretty good recession.Further Reading: Kevin’s list of families and fiction has garnered many additions from readers in the comments.