For its November issue, Wired asks guest editor President Obama for a list of his 10 essential books. The magazine estimates that reading all of them, including James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, Katherine Boo‘s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, and Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, will take only eighty-nine hours.
“A couple of years ago I attended a British Council discussion about the state of contemporary writing and the creative future in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation. When someone brought up the dearth of memoirs in the Nigerian literary landscape, almost everyone in the room laughed ruefully. Someone joked aloud, ‘We can’t write memoirs. We’d have to wait for parents to die. Not just parents – everyone who knows us, even!’ This concern is not limited to nonfiction.” Bim Adewunmi writes for BuzzFeed on African immigrants’ stories.
The Exile, home of the War Nerd, is back online at a new address after being forced to fold their print operation.Lots of folks were excited about Mark Twain being on the cover of Time. So was Season, until she opened the magazine.Will Leitch’s story of meeting Hunter S. Thompson is brilliant, funny, and heartbreaking.The New Anonymous is a literary magazine with a clever concept. According to EarthGoat, “No name on your submission, the readers never see names, the editors are anonymous.” Will anyone submit their work? Who is behind this mysterious mag?Summer book lists, compiled.Ever wonder where the word “ok” comes from? “The abbreviation fad began in Boston in the summer of 1838 … OFM, ‘our first men,’ and used expressions like NG, ‘no go,’ GT, ‘gone to Texas,’ and SP, ‘small potatoes.’ Many of the abbreviated expressions were exaggerated misspellings, a stock in trade of the humorists of the day. One predecessor of OK was OW, ‘oll wright,’ and there was also KY, ‘know yuse,’ KG, ‘know go,’ and NS, ’nuff said.’ The general fad may have existed in spoken or informal written American English for a decade or more before its appearance in newspapers. OK’s original presentation as ‘all correct’ was later varied with spellings such as ‘Oll Korrect’ or even ‘Ole Kurreck’. Deliberate word play was associated with the acronym fad and was a yet broader contemporary American fad.”
After the sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska died fighting in the trenches, Ezra Pound wrote a book about his work, inspiring a wave of interest that brought the sculptor to prominence. The book came out in 1916, a year after Gaudier-Brzeska’s death, and kicked off a succession of great books that tackle his sculptures. Yasmine Seale writes about their legacy in the LRB.
A detailed analysis of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s tax records, obtained from his estate, at The American Scholar. William J. Quirk scrutinizes Scott’s financial ledgers from 1919 to 1940, including short story royalties, expenses relating to wife Zelda, and his years spent in Hollywood. Indeed, you are what you spend.