Links of the week, 11/4/2011

This week (which has left me completely unproductive here because I stupidly thought it would be a good idea to accept a big freelance copyediting assignment while also teaching a ten-week class for the first time, not to mention holding down my normal full-time job—I’ll try to post more this coming week!): an idiosyncratic pianist and a masterpiece of children’s literature.

  • The AV Club‘s interview with actors John Cho and Kal Penn is hilarious and very endearing. As adolescent and crude as the Harold & Kumar movies can be (VERY), they’re also oddly sweet and surprisingly sharp, and the chemistry and intelligence of these two is a big reason why.
  • D. T. Max’s New Yorker article on concert pianist Hélène Grimaud does a great job of describing how eccentric her interpretations can be. Moreover, it’s a great example of how much fun a profile can be when the subject either isn’t aware—or simply doesn’t care—how bizarre the things she’s saying sound.
  • Norman Juster’s celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of his novel The Phantom Tollbooth reminds me just how much I loved that playful, brilliant fantasia on language as a kid. (Michael Chabon’s introduction to the new edition, published a few months ago in The New York Review of Books, is also well worth reading.)
  • This montage of film shots in which the camera looks straight down at the characters—often called a God’s eye perspective—is polished and portentous and weirdly poignant. The editor neglected to provide annotations on what clip is from which movie, but the YouTube commenters have that covered. (Via Vulture.)