- Around 1892, the world of books greeted perhaps the most salient advance since the invention of the printing press: the Holloway Reading Stand and Dictionary Holder. “For invalids and those accustomed to read themselves asleep it is invaluable … The tired man or woman may read while resting.”
- Working for J. D. Salinger’s agent: “One of Ms. Rakoff’s tasks was to respond to the steady stream of fan mail for the legendarily reclusive author … The letters, many of them handwritten, were personal and passionate. There were old men who had served with the author in the war and young people discovering the hypocrisy of the real world for the first time. Ms. Rakoff went off script and began to write back, giving the fans her own advice and opinions.”
- What explains the spate of novels about famous novelists’ wives? “Vera Nabokov, as far as I know, has not yet been transformed into the heroine of a novel. But it’s only a matter of time. The demand for fiction cast in the template of ‘the creative person’s wife’ shows little sign of abating.”
- Remembering Bernard Natan, “a Romanian Jew who immigrated to Paris in 1905 and went on to become a titan of French film, a man whose brand name, for a time, rivaled that of Gaumont and Pathé, founding fathers of le cinéma français. At once media visionary and rapacious entrepreneur, he burned bright over the City of Lights until an arrest for fraud sent him crashing to earth.”
- “An emergency gives reading a practical urgency, but practical urgency and literature have little business mixing. This is exactly why reading, at its best, is good for you: there’s almost never an immediate, practical reason to do it. It cuts against the grain of the everyday—of the jobs we have to work, the bills we have to pay, the conversations and fashions we’ve been convinced we need to keep up with, the stock language and thought that float in our cultural ether, clogging our vision.”
- New York Observer veteran Peter Kaplan has died, at the age of fifty-nine.
- At the Girolamini Library in Naples, a librarian has been accused of “one of the most dramatic thefts ever to hit the rare-book world.” Pilfered volumes include rare editions of Aristotle, Descartes, and Machiavelli.
- New Zealand’s national airline has painted a giant image of the dragon Smaug, from The Hobbit, on the side of one of its planes.
- So, how are the leaked J. D. Salinger stories?
What does your favorite book from high school tell you about your life?
Tim Taranto hails from Upstate New York and attended Cornell. In addition to The Paris Review Daily, his work has appeared on the Rumpus and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Tim lives in Iowa City, where he is studying fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
- J. D. Salinger worked as an entertainment director on a luxury liner. And other odd jobs of literary greats.
- “Few readers know that Edgar had an older brother. Typically going by the name Henry, he was a poet, like his famous sibling, and a hard-drinking sailor.” At Page Turner, an investigation of early Poe.
- Vogue UK has launched the Vogue On … Designers book series.
- “Rather like a modern foreign correspondent, he had his area of expertise that he was keen to emphasize.” On the “shaggy-dog stories” of Herodotus.