“Literature can use secrecy as a device to ensnare readers, to pull the wool over their eyes or to reveal to them things that the characters can’t see. Whether large – businessman by day, serial killer by night; or small – where a character silently yearns for an ex-lover.” Eli Goldstone compiles a list for The Guardian of 10 novels whose characters are concealing big secrets, including a few lesser-knowns like Shirley Jackson‘s We Have Always Lived in the Castle and New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani.
If you missed Apple’s “Education Announcement” last Thursday, you can check out Peter Kafka’s play-by-play coverage of the event for AllThingsD. The whole affair made quite a splash because the biggest publishers in the world today are education publishers. The star of the show was iBooks 2, and it has many people talking: some view it as education publishing’s savior, some fear it, and others think its EULA is downright creepy. At least one person believes the whole idea might’ve been the brain child of a lowly intern. And, finally, what should we make of Steve Jobs’ 1996 admission that “what’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology?”
New this week is Sarah Vowell’s Unfamiliar Fishes (reviewed here) along with new story collections from E.L. Doctorow (All the Time in the World) and Jim Shepard (You Think That’s Bad). Also new this week is Kate Atkinson’s latest Jackson Brodie mystery Started Early, Took My Dog and Paul McEuen’s debut mixing “science and suspense” Spiral. Out in paperback is Millions Hall of Famer A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.
What’s going on in Hong Kong? Last week, a man by the name of Lee Bo became the fifth member of the Hong Kong-based publishing house Mighty Current, which specializes in provocative tomes about Beijing leaders, to vanish mysteriously. A few of those missing have been in sporadic communication with worried family members, letting them know in opaque terms that they are “helping with an investigation.”
In 1998, not long after publishing his first novel, Dan Brown paid a visit to an English class at Phillips Exeter. Among the students in attendance that day was future New Yorker editor Joshua Rothman, whose fragmented recollection of Brown’s appearance turned into an instructive tale about “memory and its tricks.”
Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch performed a haunting interpretation of “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats, and the actor has also recently signed on to play Hamlet on the London stage in autumn 2014. This raises the question: is Cumberbatch the British James Franco?