Out this week: The Ensemble by Aja Gabel; Kickflip Boys by Neal Thompson; A Shout in the Ruins by Kevin Powers; Tin Man by Sarah Winman; How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan; and Last Stories by William Trevor.
“All I know was that in Paris I felt haunted, like a double exposure photograph that shows a figure and then a milky specter behind. I felt stalked by a creature of my own making, a monster that was both my mother and myself.” Darcey Steinke writes about Paris, loss, and monsters in an essay for Granta.
I’ve been noticing some of the fantastic pages that libraries and museums have put up for their book exhibits. Here’s Czech book covers of the 1920s and 1930s and Civil War maps from the Library of Congress, for example.Fans of audiobooks will enjoy this essay by the pseudonymous Thomas H. Benton at the Chronicle of Higher Education. Link via OPTR.Thinking about getting rid of some books? This Ask Metafilter thread has lots of suggestions on where to donate your books.For a year, I was a bookstore employee who blogged, so the story of this book clerk in the UK who got fired for blogging hit pretty close to home.
Those of you with some knowledge of Pale Fire and Lolita won’t be surprised to learn what Nabokov thought of dinner parties. Namely, he thought they were awful, vaguely surreal events, held largely by drunkards with overriding appetites for drama. At The Paris Review Daily, Sadie Stein quotes a passage from “The Vane Sisters” to explain why “It’s hard to think of someone you’d want less at a midcentury faculty tea, save maybe a seething Shirley Jackson.” You could also read our own Garth Risk Hallberg on Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor.
Online used book marketplace AbeBooks has released its list of the top ten most expensive sales on the site in 2010. A rare and very old Arabic manuscript is in the top slot. Herman Melville also makes a couple of appearances.
“The company, in its most cutting-edge incarnation, has become the arena in which narratives and fictions, metaphors and metonymies and symbol networks at their most dynamic and incisive are being generated, worked through and transformed… It is funky architecture firms, digital media companies and brand consultancies that have assumed the mantle of the cultural avant garde. It is they who, now, seem to be performing writers’ essential task of working through the fragmentations of old orders of experience and representation, and coming up with radical new forms to chart and manage new, emergent ones. If there is an individual alive in 2015 with the genius and vision of James Joyce, they’re probably working for Google.” From The Guardian, a look at “fiction in the age of data saturation,” with a healthy dose of anthropology thrown in just for fun.
It started with Mike Daisey, and eventually led to a series of profiles in The New York Times, but ultimately Apple launched a serious audit of their Chinese sub-contractors at the Foxconn Technology plants. Now, thanks to increased awareness, those workers will see 16-25% raises in pay.
“In the twenty-first century, the lyric essay at its worst is a utility or an app; at its best, it’s a cross-hatch of a genre in which things cross over; implicitly chiasmic, it’s a space in which incompatible discourses are allowed to intermingle; wherein poetry and prose create productive frictions, enabling a new, unnatural form, illegible and readable for the first time.” Mary Cappello writes about the lyric essay and Djuna Barnes.