"[G]uess what, spending hours of your spare time plowing through some dense and symbol-laden carnival of affectation and ambiguity only makes you resentful of the publishing industry that pushed the book on you in the first place." Alex Balk at The Awl takes the piss out of recent studies that have suggested reading literary fiction might make us better people. Writer John Vaillant, whom we interviewed last year, might disagree.
"To me a book is not just a particular file. It’s connected with personhood. Books are really, really hard to write. They represent a kind of a summit of grappling with what one really has to say. And what I’m concerned with is when Silicon Valley looks at books, they often think of them as really differently as just data points that you can mush together. They’re divorcing books from their role in personhood." Digital pioneer and theorist Jaron Lanier fears that the Internet might be destroying not just literature, but also the middle class.
Out this week: LaRose by Louise Erdrich; The Fox Was Ever the Hunter by Herta Müller; The Pier Falls by Mark Haddon; The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes; Allegheny Front by Matthew Neill Null; The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley; Just Life by Neil Abramson; and The Selected Letters of John Cage. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.