paper trail

Jun 14, 2011 @ 4:00:00 am

Joseph Brodsky

At MobyLives, Nathan Ihara reviews some recent books that ponder boredom as a gateway to enlightenment (or a road to ruin). He discuses The Pale King, of course, as well as the novel The Canal by Lee Rourke, and a recent article by Joseph Epstein in Commentary magazine that covers the new non-fiction titles Boredom: A Lively History by Peter Toohey, and A Philosophy of Boredom by Lars Svendsen. Ihara quotes Foster Wallace’s notably downbeat commencement address from Kenyon college in 2005, and Epstein praises Joseph Brodsky’s similar 1989 Dartmouth speech, in which “Brodsky told the 1,100 Dartmouth graduates that, although they may have had some splendid samples of boredom supplied by their teachers, these would be as nothing compared with what awaits them in the years ahead.” One can almost picture the students half-heartedly tossing their caps in the air.

Salman Rushdie is working on a science fiction TV drama for Showtime, called The Next People.

Last year, three of the most intellectually engaging independent non-profit cultural groups in the city—the innovative film group Light Industry, the brilliant online magazine Triple Canopy (rumored to be pondering publishing a print version), and the remarkable education collective Public School New York—enjoyed a happy co-habitation in downtown Brooklyn, which lasted nearly a year. The three groups have now signed a five-year lease for a new space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where they’ll host more of their inspiring public programs; they’re asking supporters to consider kicking in some money to help them get started.

George Saunders's summer reading will be his own work, mostly, as he aims to complete two books, but also plays by Annie Baker, Lydia Davis’s new translation of Madame Bovary, and many other worthwhile titles.

What’s with the Jane Austen porn? Critic and ardent Austen fan William Deresiewicz explains.