If only Odysseus had Google Maps during his 10-year journey home. Then perhaps Homer’s Odyssey would have turned out differently. Open Culture has an interactive map created by Gisèle Mounzer that tracks Odysseus’s circuitous route, “bouncing all over the Mediterranean, moving first down to Crete and Tunisia. Next over to Sicily, then off toward Spain, and back to Greece again.”
Recommended Reading, if you have the time: the full archives of the famed Partisan Review (published from 1934 to 2003) are now available online, searchable, and completely free. Essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews in the vault include work by Hannah Arendt, James Baldwin, Samuel Beckett, Allen Ginsberg, Franz Kafka, Doris Lessing, George Orwell, Marge Piercy, Jean-Paul Sartre, Roger Shattuck, Susan Sontag, William Styron, Lionel Trilling, and Robert Penn Warren. A worthy epitaph: “The Partisan Review is finished, but its vision has triumphed.”
“[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.
“At home, I dedicate occasional whole days to reading as if I’m a convalescent. The ideal place for this is the bath, where the body floats free,” Rachel Kushner told The New York Times in a “By the Book” interview. Yet just because her reading style is leisurely doesn’t mean her reading is; she discusses her love of Proust and avoidance of books known for their plots. For more Kushner, read our own interview with her or her 2013 Year in Reading post.
This Thursday, at Housing Works Bookstore in New York, Garth will represent The Millions in a live quiz show called (accurately) Don’t Know Much About Literature. Kenneth C. and Jenny Davis, authors of DKMAL, the book, will host. Co-contestants include Jason Boog of Galleycat, Ed Champion of Reluctant Habits, Jason Toal of HTML GIANT, Catherine Lacey, and Buzz Poole of Mark Batty Publisher. We’re told buzzers and beer are in the offing, and that second round contestants “include you!” We’d love to see you there.