July 14, 2009KR BlogUncategorized

Short takes: What Are Novels, and How Do We Get Rid of Them?

Novels aren’t just sources of solitary cogitation. They are social objects, and we use them to brandish our identities, mark our allegiances and broker our relationships. They can provoke passions as strongly as politics. Thanks to the intimate connection between story and reader, they impact upon us very personally, and can drive otherwise undemonstrative folk to feel they have a right ??? nay duty ??? to confront complete strangers with their zeal, and have thus been responsible for some of the most unexpected human encounters I’ve had.

Quotation of the morning from the Guardian Books Blog (via Shelf Awareness).

“Is it any wonder that literary criticism is on the ropes?” The New Haven Review talks about choosing which books to give to Goodwill.

Some awful library books that wouldn’t be so hard to give up.

“I think I start with one idea. In Netherland, it was cricket in New York. Then there is an accumulation of sentences, and often just single words. Words that interest me. And I sort of build it up like a poem. Then you see what you’ve got, what patterns have emerged, and you see what meaning has been generated by your notes. As opposed to starting off with some theory of everything and trying to cram it into a book,” says Joseph O’Neill in an interview with The Elegant Variation.

Just found this this weekend: Spencer Finch’s interpretation of the word “pistachio” using the colors Nabokov, a famous synesthete, saw for each letter.