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.
The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations attracted two notable literary figures this weekend. Author and activist Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine) addressed protestors. Here’s the longer, uncut version of her speech. On Sunday, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek (Living in the End Times) gave an address as well.
For the most part, Tolstoy is known as a realist, despite his work’s occasional dips into fancy. Yet the plotlines of his great novels featured long and important dream sequences. In The New York Review of Books, Janet Malcolm argued that Tolstoy was a master of dreams, using Anna Karenina as proof.
Fyodor Dostoevsky‘s Crime and Punishment is getting the musical treatment, and though “it does not seem the most likely candidate to provide musical fun for all the family” for a long list of reasons – “heavy drinking, prostitution, a double axe murder and hours of psychological torment” – we’re already planning our trips to Moscow for the premier. This is also a good opportunity to revisit the debate over who’s greater, Dostoevsky or Tolstoy?
In 1932, several black Americans – including Langston Hughes – traveled to the Soviet Union to shoot a propaganda film about the “evils of racism in the United States.” One of those travelers, Lloyd Patterson, would never return. Instead, Patterson married an Ukrainian woman, and the pair had two children. The firstborn, Jim Patterson, was at one time the most famous black resident of the USSR – and his appearance in The Circus even drew the admiration of Joseph Stalin. After World War II, Patterson served as a Soviet naval officer aboard a submarine in the Black Sea. From there he went on to the Soviet Writers Union in 1967. If you think this sounds far-fetched, I encourage you to read more here.