June 06, 2004

Sunday link laziness

Since I'm too lazy to write anything substantive at the moment, here are some links to browse:

  • In The Washington Post, Jonathan Yardley reviews Gordon Wood's new book on the "americanization" of Benjamin Franklin (a "true-blue Englishman" who became an American icon.)
  • According to one critic, the three most influential books in Italian literature were Dante's Divine Comedy, Manzoni's The Betrothed, and... Carlo Collodi's The Adventures of Pinocchio. Alison Lurie looks at Collodi's book in The New York Review.
  • In The New York Times Sunday Magazine, two writers (among them the University of Chicago's Steven Levitt) describe the case of an economist who decided to sell bagels in office parks and ended up creating the perfect laboratory to study white-collar crime.
  • Philip Pullman discusses the power of Prosper Merimee's Carmen in a new Guardian essay.
  • What's the relationship between science and art? Harvey Blume discusses two different answers to this question in the Boston Globe ideas section.
  • The Telegraph reviews two new books on Russian literature: Emma Gerstein's memoir of her dispute with the Mandelstams and Irma Kudrova's account of the death of Marina Tsvetaeva.
  • Question of the day: was Richard Nixon drunk during the Yom Kippur War? The Smoking Gun has published a relevant document on the web...
  • In another Telegraph article (found via Pullquote), Simon Sebag Montefiore describes Joseph Stalin's relationship with the Soviet movie industry: "Stalin loved movies, but he was much more than a movie-buff," Sebag Montefiore writes. "The new Communist Party archives in Moscow, and the recently opened personal papers of Stalin, reveal that he fancied himself a super-movie-producer/director/screenwriter as well as supreme censor, suggesting titles, ideas and stories, working on scripts and song lyrics, lecturing directors, coaching actors, ordering re-shoots and cuts and, finally, passing the movies for showing."
  • In The New Yorker, Joshua Wolf Shenk looks at Abraham Lincoln's "suicide poem," and Ian Buruma discusses the "two minds" of Bernard Lewis.
  • The New York Times describes the new soundtrack added to the first Harry Potter movie by a comicbook artist with a sense of humor. It sounds like a big improvement!
  • Penguin Books has commissioned a study showing that men seen reading books in public are more attractive to the opposite sex. The company is also launching a contest in which men can win a thousand pounds if they're caught reading a specially selected Penguin title. Isn't the world a wonderful place?
  • The Telegraph has begun excerpting a book about etymological myths. It's a fun read. (via Languagehat)

I'd especially recommend the article on Stalin if you want a fun read. It's full of fun gossipy details (though some rumors, like the claim that Stalin ordered the assassination of John Wayne, may well not be true): did you know that Stalin inherited the movie library of Joseph Goebbels after the war? The article isn't exactly brilliant scholarship (as others have noted), but details like this (and other yet to emerge from the archives) will make for a fascinating biography someday.

Later tonight or tomorrow I'll post my review of the new Harry Potter movie (short version: it's really good), but otherwise I think I'm done with blogging for the weekend.

Posted by Ed at June 6, 2004 07:50 PM
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