Critical Linking: April 7th, 2014

We also invite you to tell us: which books, freely available or otherwise, do you consider essential reading for the intelligent?

To be honest, I can’t think of one book that is required reading for the intelligent. Maybe a handful from a larger group, but not one book strikes me as a necessary condition of intelligence.


During the Cold War, the CIA loved literature – novels, short stories, poems. Joyce, Hemingway, Eliot. Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Nabokov. Books were weapons, and if a work of literature was unavailable or banned in the Soviet Union or Eastern Europe, it could be used as propaganda to challenge the Soviet version of reality. Over the course of the Cold War, as many as 10 million copies of books and magazines were secretly distributed by the agency behind the Iron Curtain as part of a political warfare campaign.

Well, the pen is mightier and all that.


Peter Matthiessen, a roving author and naturalist whose impassioned nonfiction explored the remote endangered wilds of the world and whose prizewinning fiction often placed his mysterious protagonists in the heart of them, died on Saturday at his home in Sagaponack, N.Y. He was 86.

A great one gone. And with a new book out this week, no less.


BiblioNasium, the book-focused social network for children, has added a new feature in response to user demand. Children will now be able to post reviews, in addition to the site’s other features, which, like Goodreads, include the ability to create a virtual bookshelf, get free stuff, and compare your reading accomplishments to those of friends.

Kids read. If they want to write reviews of what they read for their friends, then have at it.



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