“This doesn’t really tell you what he was like. I say what we did together, that he helped me, what I think he liked. I don’t know how to say what he was like. I loved him.” For The Los Angeles Review of Books, an interview with Lynne Tillman on her relationship with art historian, critic, and theorist Craig Owens, who died 29 years ago at the age of 39. Tillman discusses Owens’s idea of writing “alongside,” not “about,” art, adding, “I don’t expect answers from art. It doesn’t speak as people or other animals do…I’m speaking and looking ‘at’ or ‘to’ an artwork; I am not explaining it, not talking ‘about’ it, but addressing myself ‘to’ it.”
In a TED Talk, Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel show us how Google Labs’ Ngram Viewer works. You can learn “surprising things” from 500 billion words, a string of characters which put together “would stretch from here to the Moon and back ten times over.”
“Per one estimate, 96 of the 154 sonnets credited to Shakespeare contain rhymes that have since been lost to linguistic history.” The Atlantic writes on why we should be laughing more when we read Shakespeare. If you’d prefer to revere him, here’s a piece on Shakespeare as God.
Out this week: Flâneuse by Lauren Elkin; Abandon Me by Melissa Febos; Lower Ed by Tressie McMillan Cottom; Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler; No Other World by Rahul Mehta; Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan; and To Be a Machine by our own Mark O’Connell (who we interviewed recently). For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
Amazon has refreshed its line of Kindles once again. The price point on a basic version that utilizes Wi-Fi has dropped way down to $139. Opt for the 3G version and the price is $189. The device now boasts better contrast, less glare in sunlight, and it now comes in a new color: “graphite.”
The Los Angeles Review will start reviewing one self-published book each month. They plan on applying “the same standards of good literature” to their reviews of self-published content as they do to traditionally published content.