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  • Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals, died today at the age of 88, according to a statement released by his publisher. Pirsig’s work explored a system of thought called the “Metaphysics of Quality,” which has been defined as “a thesis that quality is the basis of reality, and that this understanding unifies most East Asian and Western thought.”


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    ~Nick Moran
  • Next Saturday (April 29) is Independent Bookstore Day! If you’re looking for a place to celebrate, check out our staff recommendations of tried and true mainstays. You can also map out the stores Janet Potter’s “bookstore resume,” which she freely admits has taken “the shape of a relationship history.”


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    ~Nick Moran
  • “This question of presence seems crucial to Tillman’s project. Her position in a text is tricky—she operates both inside and outside of it, which allows her to thwart distanced critical authority and also perform the aesthetic slippages she admires in others’ work.” On Lynne Tillman’s new story collection.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Recommended Reading: Willa Paskin’s review of Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Three finalists have been named for this year’s $10,000 Albertine Prize: Eve Out of Her Ruins by Ananda Devi, The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal, and Bardo or Not Bardo by Antoine Volodine. Voting is open until Sunday, April 30th. Also, you can read more about Volodine’s work courtesy of Grant Munroe.


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    ~Nick Moran
  • Got a couple thousand bucks lying around? You can place a bid on one of Ernest Hemingway’s love letters. Or, for a more modest price of “free,” you can read Tim Weed’s rumination entitled “Chasing Hemingway’s Ghost in Havana.”


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    ~Nick Moran
  • Out this week: The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch; Imagine Wanting Only This by Kristen RadtkeA Line Made by Walking by Sara BaumeThe Woman Who Had Two Navels and Tales of the Tropical Gothic by Nick Joaquin; and My Cat Yugoslavia by Pajtim Statovci. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Amidst increasing calls to “memorialize slavery’s ties with Glasgow in a more sensitive way,” Scottish poet Kate Tough recently published a tribute poem, “People Made Glasgow.” Tough calls on the city to install a permanent slavery exhibit, a memorial garden, or new street names as well.


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    ~Nick Moran
  • The University of Tennessee will offer history students a seminar on Dolly Parton’s life, so this is as good a time as any to revisit Sherman Alexie’s poem, “Ode to Jolene.”


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    ~Nick Moran
  • Recommended Reading: Our own Ismail Muhammad on a new book of essays by Durga Chew-Bose. 


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Conrad Aiken’s tombstone reads: “Cosmos Mariner — Destination Unknown.” Which raises the question: what exactly does this epitaph say about the poet’s work? In the LA Times, an argument that Aiken deserves a reappraisal.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • When asked about his tenure as a professor of creative writing, Harry Crews used to say, “I may be at the university, but I damn sure ain’t of the university.” But in talking to his former students, Crews’s biographerTed Geltner, found that in spite of the writer’s efforts to distance himself from academia, he really was a passionate, memorable teacher. (Bonus: Yours truly named one Crews work his “most representative” Florida book.)


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    ~Nick Moran

Read More The Millions Top 10 February 2017