What Do You Do When The Story You Have To Write Has No Real Plot?

Akhil Sharma New Yorker

“A truly traumatic thing occurs to the family and then the family begins to unravel. The misery of this family’s daily life takes a slow toll. Real life is plotless, but the experience of reading books that replicate this can be irritating.” Akhil Sharma explains how he approached this “technical problem” of writing his autobiographical novel Family Life.

When Artists Go All ‘Social Practice,’ How Do We Judge Their Art?

Social Activist Art

“These kinds of manufactured encounters aren’t unique to the art world. ‘The entire foundation of the Apple Store was that it would be a place of human relations,’ he says. ‘Sales people were trained to be empathetic, and the cash register was purposely kept hidden. There is a global interest in human relationships.'”

Poll: What Americans Think About Popular Music


“Forty-two percent of Americans think that this decade has the worst music compared with the other four most recent decades. Next in order are the 2000s (15 percent), 1990s (13 percent), 1980s (14 percent) and the 1970s (12 percent).”

All Writers Pine For A Vera Nabokov


“Twenty-three years after her death, Vera Nabokov remains a revered figure in capital ‘L’ Literature … Vera not only performed all the duties expected of a wife of her era … but also acted as her husband’s round-the-clock editor, assistant, and secretary. … So it seems likely that having, or not having, a Vera could be the missing piece in creating gender parity within literature.”

The Great Living-Room War: Live TV vs. Internet TV

The Great Living-Room War

Derek Thompson: “TV, as we know it, is cable packages and live channels. But the new players are building an Internet-video experience around apps with very little access to live television. It’s not TV. It’s Internet TV. Even as these tech upstarts are battling each other for living-room dominance, they’re also battling the legacy of traditional television and the sturdy cable bundle.”

‘It Sounds Like A Stupid Fairytale’: Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Wishes Come True With Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

LAC (After Swan Lake), Coliseum, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

When Princess Caroline invited Maillot to lead Monaco’s ballet company, he says, “I wanted to show the world that this company wasn’t the toy of a princess. I wanted a company that would have its own identity. And I wanted Monaco, so small and so specific, to experience the whole possibility of dance.”

Greed Is Good: A 300-Year History of a Dangerous Idea

Greed Is Good

“We sometimes forget that the pursuit of commercial self-interest was largely reviled until just a few centuries ago. ‘A man who is a merchant can seldom if ever please God,’ St. Jerome said … It was not until the mischievous moralist Bernard Mandeville that someone attempted to gloss greed as anything other than a shameful motive.”

Study Casts Doubt On Superiority Of Strads


Regarding the guesses over whether an instrument was old or new, 31 were right and 33 were wrong. “The data rather clearly demonstrate the inability of the players to reliably guess an instrument’s age,” the researchers write.

The Largest American Art Show Ever? (It’s Outdoors)


“Beginning Monday, curators are asking the public to vote online to choose which artwork will be featured on 50,000 displays for the “Art Everywhere” initiative in August. Members of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America are donating the space.”

What Makes Iraq Stories Different From Most War Literature

Anbar Province Iraq

George Packer: “The essential scene of First World War writing is the mass slaughter of the trenches. In the archetypal Vietnam story, a grunt who can never find the enemy walks into physical and moral peril. In much of the writing about Iraq, the moment of truth is a reunion scene at an airport or a military base – families holding signs, troops looking for their loved ones, an unease sinking deep into everyone.”