paper trail

Aug 9, 2013 @ 12:44:00 am

Lewis Lapham talks to the New York Times about smoking e-cigarettes in his office all day.

A computer program in development at Drexel University strips texts of their style. Here, for example, is the original opening paragraph of Anna Karenina: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Everything was in confusion in the Oblonskys’ house. The wife had discovered that the husband was carrying on an intrigue with a French girl, who had been a governess in their family, and she had announced to her husband that she could not go on living in the same house with him;” and the Anonymouth’d version: “Happy families are all alike. And, every family that isn’t happy, is unhappy in its own way. The Oblonskys’ house was in turmoil. The wife/mother discovered her husband had been having a passionate relationship with a French girl—who used to be a governess in their family. She announced to her husband that she couldn’t continue living with him.”

Buzzfeed imagines what the Anthony Weiner scandal would look like if written by young Philip Roth, old Philip Roth, and contemporary Philip Roth.

The Daily News’s Margaret Eby takes a trip to the South to visit the Georgia home of Flannery O’Connor, and to check in on the three surviving birds from the novelist’s muster of peacocks: “From the peahen and peacock pair that [O’Connor] purchased by mail order in 1952 flourished a cackling crowd of peafowl. They snacked on the fig trees out back, pecked at the roses, and trailed their long, dazzling tails through the red Georgia dirt. In her 1961 essay ‘The King of Birds,’ O’Connor estimated that she had about forty beaks to feed, though ‘for some time now I have not felt it wise to take a census.’”

At the Financial Times, Kevin Silverman makes a case for appointing a writer as the next Federal Reserve chairman: “The Fed’s role... has become largely literary. It doesn’t change rates. It issues statements about its feelings – which are then parsed by the financial community, as if they were passages of the Bible, for signs of policy shifts to come.”

Inspired by England’s recent decision to put Jane Austen on the twenty pound note, ABEbooks imagines what American currency would look like if it featured famous authors. Our favorite is Hunter S. Thompson on the $100 bill.