Murakami is odds-on favorite for the Nobel?

I have always been a fan of the eclectic and controversial Irish betting site Paddy Power, which let you bet on everything from the next pope to whether Moody’s would downgrade a country’s credit rating. But before today I had never heard of the equally novel betting site Ladbrokes. This British cousin is taking bets on … Continue reading

What Google Thinks of the Great Books

Google autocomplete is where word association meets global group-think. Renee DiResta of the no upside blog recently asked Google “Why is [State] so” and let the search engine fill in the rest. Jim Romenesko did the same thing with major media figures.  The results are both amusing and unsurprising. The New York Times and NPR are liberal; Fox News is biased; … Continue reading

Joseph Conrad, the Great Author We Love To Hate

Joseph Conrad hasn’t had it easy. Beloved by critics, read by millions of students, and lost in the middle. No other novelist has written so many recognized classics and still been so forgotten. Consider his offerings in my assembled version of the Western Canon. Conrad has six entries, one of which you’ve probably read, many … Continue reading

The 200 Books You Need to Read

You could say I am playing into a stereotype by fretting over what really are the most important books that everyone should read. But these things do matter! Consider this 2008 piece in the New York Times that bemoans poorly-read sexual partners. It probably caused a lot of anxiety among the fairly well-read.  “It tells something about … their level of … Continue reading