paper trail

France honors Philip Roth, Ladbrokes bets on literature

Philip Roth was awarded a Commander of the Legion of Honor award at the French embassy in New York last week for his contributions to literature and longstanding relationship with France. In a speech, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabuis attributed Roth’s “immense success in France” to his “art of storytelling, your irony and self-depreciation, which is not typically French.”

The good news in a new National Endowment for the Arts survey is that more than half of all Americans read for pleasure in 2012; the bad news is that the number of people reading what the NEA calls "literature"—i.e. novels, short stories, poetry, or plays—dropped to the lowest levels in ten years.

Did Dr. Seuss or Bret Easton Ellis write it? A quiz from The Awl.

How does Ladbrokes predict who’s going to win the Nobel Prize for Literature and get it right half the time? By applying “ a numerical value to things like industry chatter, an author’s nationality, historical precedent”—and then simply deciding who’s likely to win. This tends to create a snowball effect and generate even more media for the candidate they think should win.

Felix Salmon has some thoughts about what Dave Eggers gets wrong in The Circle, his new novel about a dystopian Google-like company that forces its employees to constantly be plugged into social media and sharing every detail of their every waking hour: “The thing about the Valley that Eggers misses is that it’s populated by people who consider themselves above the rest of the country—intellectually, culturally, financially. They consider themselves the cognitive elite; the rest of us are the puppets dancing on the end of their strings of code.”

In an interview with pandoDaily, New Republic owner Chris Hughes remarked that he doesn’t believe in the division between editorial and advertising: “I knew that in buying a content and media company, the idea that business sits over here and lets a newsroom do whatever it wants over there is anachronistic.”