* The ‘Future Book’ Is Here, but It’s Not What We Expected. Woah: “Almost half of author earnings now come from independently published books. Independent books don’t outsell big-five books, but they offer higher royalty rates—roughly 70 percent versus 25 percent. For the first time—perhaps since the invention of the printing press—authors and small presses have viable independent options beyond the ‘traditional’ publishing path with its gatekeepers.”
* An essay on Lionel Trilling, not that interesting, but I note this: “English departments have replaced the personalized essay at which Trilling excelled with the impersonal apparatus of theory and jargon, and whatever the agenda of the humanities in the academy they are fading away in the culture at large.” I didn’t appreciate the extent to which that’s true when I started grad school. If I had, I think I would’ve made other plans. Also: “The self is created in privacy.”
* How the Myth of the Hedonistic Artist Lost Its Allure.
* Do I offend? A piece compatible with.
* “I Used to Write for Sports Illustrated. Now I Deliver Packages for Amazon.” This is yet another reason to not try to be a “writer.”
* The World’s Leading Electric-Car Visionary Is Wan Gang, not Elon Musk?
* “Two Roads for the New French Right,” a much deeper piece than the headline implies.
* Hospital prices are about to go public. Good news if true. I wrote about some of the madness in the current healthcare market in the linked GWC story. Few people think systematically on this issue, and most of the simple fixes you hear people advocate are either wrong or missing pieces.
* “How Hitler Nearly Destroyed the Great American Novel: When Houghton Mifflin published ‘Mein Kampf’ in 1933, it sparked what could be the strangest saga in publishing history.”
* U.S. Grip on the Market for Higher Education Is Slipping. Perhaps we should stop actively alienating much of the rest of the world, if we want to retain the lead in this vibrant export industry?
* Book Review: Evolutionary Psychopathology. I have now read some chapters in the book, and it will be of interest for some people, but it is written in the textbook genre.
* “A tour of elementary OS, perhaps the Linux world’s best hope for the mainstream.” It is strange to me that Linux still has so many problems with mainstream use, as I write this on the verge of 2019.
* Nuclear energy is key to saving the planet. A point you have read here many times, but it’s still true.
* “Let the Fountain Pens Flow!” I switched to Pigma Micron PN writing pens a while ago because they’re just less fussy, especially for carrying around.
* Sugar’s Sick Secrets: How Industry Forces Have Manipulated Science to Downplay the Harm. If you are going to do a resolution for 2019, “eliminate sugar” is a good one.
The piece by the former SI writer who’s now delivering packages for Amazon is refreshingly free of self-pity, but it probably says something unflattering about the socioeconomic silo of the Atlantic readership that they need a journalist to fill them in on the exotic world of…package delivery.