“There really is no average day in the life of a literary agent,” writes Mark Gottlieb in his attempt to describe an average day in the life of a literary agent.
“There are two extreme views about punctuation … the first is that you don’t actually need it because it’s perfectly possible to write down what you want to say without any punctuation marks or capital letters and people can still read it youdontevenneedspacesbetweenwordsreally. The second view is that punctuation is essential, not only to avoid ambiguity but also because it ‘shows our identity as educated people.’” Here is Adrienne Raphel from The New Yorker with a history of punctuation in the internet age.
Joel Rice has a new column up at McSweeney’s, in which he looks at “the literature of skateboarding.” All in all, this kind of reflective writing should pair nicely with Nick Courage’s fantastic Paris Review piece from last month. (Bonus: Rice’s column linked above also features a nice little bit of David Foster Wallace memorabilia.)
Electric Literature—first established as a cross-platform digital publisher, but best known for its popular “Recommended Reading” tumblog—has just relaunched itself as a literary advocate built around a strong website and social channels. C0-founder Andy Hunter tells the Washington Post, “Posting a cool photo on social media gets a much greater response than text alone, even in our audience of book lovers. While at first that might seem at odds with literary content, we’ve always felt that changes in the way we communicate create opportunities to reach more people.”
Another day, another LARB piece about reading Russian fiction in conjunction with the Winter Olympics. (One particularly interesting earlier installment is over here.) Meanwhile, I offer a compendium of passages from the Russian masters, and use my favorite #SochiFails to illustrate them.
Zadie Smith could write herself out of a Chinese takeout box, and that’s exactly what she does in her essay on the differences between British and American takeout culture, “Take It Or Leave It,” for The New Yorker. “I don’t think any nation should elevate service to the status of culture.”