Millions staffer Mark O’Connell immersed himself in the “transhumanist” movement for more than a year, checking in on such characters as Zoltan Istvan, the quixotic U.S. presidential candidate perhaps best-known for driving a coffin across the country. O’Connell’s book, To Be a Machine, which details dreamers like Istvan envisioning human existence liberated from the outmoded confines of the human body, publishes this month.
“A funny thing happened when Howard Jacobson won the Man Booker Prize last Tuesday… a smattering of people who were not even related to Mr. Jacobson stood and cheered.” A profile of the new Booker winner and an exploration of his winning book, The Finkler Question, in the New York Times.
According to The Secret Literary Life of Augusto Pinochet author Cristóbal Peña, the Chilean dictator “was tormented by an intense inferiority complex, which he tried to deal with by collecting books.” A recent article in The New York Times provides a look at that book collection, which totaled around 50,000 books and has been valued at around $3 million.
Putting aside for a moment the racist phrenological roots of the terms “highbrow” and “lowbrow,” here’s an interesting conversation on what the difference between them means for literature now. For a historical take, check out this graphic from a 1949 edition of LIFE magazine, which taught me a real gentleman wears fuzzy tweed, and iceberg lettuce is never in style.