paper trail

The Buenos Aires Review launches; J. Edgar Hoover, Literary Detective

Literary detective J. Edgar Hoover

The snazzy new Buenos Aires Review has launched with interviews and fiction and poetry by Juan Alvarez, Mario Bellatin, Vincent Toro, and Kenneth Goldsmith, among others.

More and more people are getting to their news through Facebook. Between August and October, there was a 69 percent increase in traffic referrals from Facebook to partner sites via the BuzzFeed Network, which includes outlets like The Huffington Post, The Onion, and Slate. In other words, ”Facebook appears to have broadly shifted its algorithms and to create formidable new traffic streams that simply weren’t there just weeks earlier.”

How much longer will college bookstores keep stocking trade books? Rapidly declining trade and textbook sales indicate that the days might be numbered.

In the mid-1940s, the FBI took an interest in French philosophy. Specifically, in the work of Camus and Sartre—writers who FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover spent several decades spying on in a misguided attempt to discover whether “Existentialism and Absurdism were some kind of front for Communism.” At the Prospect, Andy Martin pores over the FBI files on these men, and marvels at how intelligence officers found themselves acting as “philosophical policemen;” “studying scholarly works and attending lectures.” In 1963, a sixteen-year-old high school student who was fed up with arguing with his English teacher, so he mailed a survey to 150 prominent writers asking whether they deliberately used symbolism in their work. Seventy-five responded—including Ayn Rand, Jack Kerouac, Ray Bradbury, Norman Mailer, and Joseph Heller—and the responses are up at Mental Floss.

Temperatures are dropping on the East Coast, and at Flavorwire, Michelle Dean has a suggestion for how to warm up: erotic fiction. Before the Thanksgiving snowstorm hits, you might want to pick up The Swimming-Pool Library, Ada, Belle du Jour, or any of the other books on her list of “great, nearly-great, or at the very least significant erotic fiction of the last several centuries.”