Small Demons, the new website that obsessively maps out cultural allusions found in books, has completed its most challenging project yet: David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. The cataloging is extensive, charting the book’s references to hundreds of people (from Benedict Arnold to Carl Sagan to the Brady Bunch’s Eve Plumb), tobacco and drugs, TV shows (Hawaii Five-O), food and drinks (the Big Mac), cars, weapons, etc. Our favorite category is "Everything Else," which features Visine, Frisbees, Depends, and Hefty Bags. What makes Small Demons addictive is that you can click on any of these items and find out what other authors have mentioned them. Click on Krazy Glue, for instance, and learn that Sue Grafton mentioned that product in E is for Evidence. Vermeer is mentioned in many books, including Peter Carey’s Parrot and Olivier in America and Alice Munro’s The Love of a Good Woman; Joni Mitchell appears not just in Infinite Jest but also in Chuck Klosterman IV and Edmund White’s The Beautiful Room Is Empty. And so on and so on...
A photo by John Simpson, inspired by Etgar Keret's story "Cheesus Christ"
The Millions is introducing a new monthly feature called “Post-40 Bloomers,” which “will highlight authors—living and deceased, new-on-the-scene and now long-established—whose first books debuted when they were 40 or older.” (Consider it a counterweight against the New Yorker's youth-focused 20 under 40.) A tentative list of writers the Millions plans to cover includes Isak Dinesen, Helen DeWitt, and Walker Percy.
John Simpson’s photo of a decaying Big Mac billboard has won FSG and Bomb magazine’s “Something Out of Something” contest, which invited participants to submit visual art inspired by the work of Israeli short-story writer Etgar Keret. Simpson’s winning image was a riff on Keret’s story of fast food and mayhem “Cheesus Christ,” which appears in the recently released A Knock at the Door.
Riverhead has acquired the rights to former Sleater-Kinner guitarist and "Portlandia" creator Carrie Brownstein's forthcoming "indie-rock memoir" about her life in music, the New York Times reported today. Brownstein is currently on tour with her new band, Wild Flag, and has yet to announce a title or publication date for her book.
A roundup of the best obituaries and selected writings of the hard-living Southern writer Harry Crews, who died last week at the age of 77.
In honor of small press month, which concluded on Saturday, Flavorwire asks literary insiders—i.e., editors at Graywolf, Dalkey Archive, and Two Dollar Radio, among others—to choose the twelve best indie press books.
From Apartment Therapy, fifteen writers’ bedrooms. (Virginia Woolf’s is the nicest).