In random-but-awesome news, Geoff Manaugh‘s BLDGBLOG reports on a new project by Dutch earth scientists to piece together what they’re calling an “atlas of the underworld.” Using CT scans to visualize “invisible landscape features—the ghostly remains of entire continents—hidden inside the planet,” the project will reveal a surface within earth’s surface. See also: our review of Where You Are, an anthology of sixteen alternative maps by a range of artists and writers including Geoff Dyer, Valeria Luiselli, and Leanne Shapton.
Geoff Dyer endorses Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station , John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead --our own Bill Morris loves it too!--and a generalized aversion toward seafood in his interview with Morten Høi Jensen for Book Forum. While they ostensibly met to talk about Zona--reviewed on The Millions here--it’s perhaps unsurprising that they managed to digress so liberally: “we chatted about his review of Richard Bradford’s Martin Amis: the Biography, and by the end he was giving me advice about which David Markson book I should read first. Our interview, in other words, assumed the shape of a Geoff Dyer book.”
Adding to the general hand-wringing over the state of the humanities, Lee Siegel contradicts Leon Wieseltier’s lament that fewer college students are majoring in literature by contending that modern literature courses ruin the joy of reading. “For every college professor who made Shakespeare or Lawrence come alive for the lucky few,” he writes, “there were countless others who made the reading of literary masterpieces seem like two hours in the periodontist's chair.” (You can also read a similar argument from a humanities professor in The New Republic.)
If you thought Michel Houellebecq was controversial, let me direct your attention to Kenneth Goldsmith. In this piece, the poet that everyone loves to hate asserts his desire “to take Walter Benjamin off the pedestal and on to the coffee table.” His newest, Capital, is out now.
Earlier this week, our own Thomas Beckwith reported on the Hermione/Ron scandal. Now, Mallory Ortberg has penned Ron Weasley's secret diary at The Toast. "I don’t want to die. I’ve never even seen a movie. Seventeen years old and I’ve never seen a movie and I still don’t know what math is." No wonder why J.K. Rowling wanted Hermione to end up with Harry.