Random Awesomeness

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Hey there, boys and girls! Christmas is still a few weeks away, but here are some gifts for your brain.

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At long last we know what Zadie Smith thinks of zombie survival scenarios.

Imagining that reality—in which everybody (except me) becomes a corpse—presents no difficulties whatsoever. Like most people in New York City, I daily expect to find myself walking the West Side Highway with nothing but a shopping cart stacked with bottled water, a flashlight, and a dead loved one on my back, seeking a suitable site for burial. The postapocalyptic scenario—the future in which everyone’s a corpse (except you)—must be, at this point, one of the most thoroughly imagined fictions of the age.

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BolanoEveryone loves a good manifesto. Lars Iyer has written a manifesto arguing that since literature is already dead, today’s best writing (by the likes of Thomas Bernhard and Roberto Bolaño) is all about lowering yourself into the tomb of literature and commenting on the view—mostly to yourself, since nobody is listening. The manifesto doesn’t mention Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station or Tom McCarthy’s Tintin and the Secret of Literature, although both of them add fuel to the argument. Whether you agree with it or not, it’s always fun to read a good, sweeping statement about what literature can and should be.

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Gay PropagandaSometimes a book is just like, YES. For instance, Gay Propaganda. It’s a collection of stories, interviews, and testimonials about Russians who are LGBT. Which would be an innocuous project except that Russia officially hates its LGBT citizens right now, so this book is an intercontinental ballistic missile of love and understanding, which is so YES I can’t even handle it. Anyway, the gang behind Gay Propaganda went to Ikea and staged a bunch of photos of LGBT people kissing each other, because apparently Russian Ikea hates these adorable LGBT people, too. See? Books can do real things!

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Not sure if this is awesome or just… huh. HarperCollins is offering discounts on e-books to American Airlines passengers over the holidays. So if you’re flying on a certain airline and you want a 20% discount on certain bestsellers from a certain New York publishing house… now you can have that.

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This is definitely awesome—a new book from cartoonist Don Hertzfeldt. Pre-orders are sold out, but you can order-order here.

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And this—a forum on smart women and the books that matter to them, brought to you by n+1. Read an excerpt here.

– Brian Hurley

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