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  • “[L]ike many, many other rules in the English language, it turns out this one is built on a foundation of lies.” That whole ‘i before e, except after c rule? Bunk. Which you would already know, if you were a true spelling bee hopeful.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “The fact that Harry Potter midnight release parties were the event to go to as a teen was completely unprecedented in geek culture. You can draw a dotted line to the mainstreaming of geek culture through Harry Potter.” Twenty years after the publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s StoneThe Huffington Post asks authors, editors, and publishers how Rowling’s juggernaut changed reading and the world of Young Adult fiction. Then see this counterpoint from our own pages last year: There Is No Such Thing as the Young Adult Novel.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “In this here place, we flesh; … Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don’t love your eyes; they’d just as soon pick em out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it.” Toni Morrison‘s Beloved as featured in a powerful essay by Allyson Hobbs for The Root about black life, Philando Castile, “and the trauma that remains.” See also: a consideration of parallels between Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic and The Odyssey.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • Book Riot reports that Planned Parenthood “staged a protest of the GOP’s healthcare (or lack thereof) bill” with red-robed Handmaids. Pair with Tara Wanda Merrigan‘s review of the Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood‘s classic: “While transforming Offred into a stereotypically empowered representation of a woman may make the show more appealing to some viewers, I found it disheartening.”


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “He sat on a shelf of our one-roomed apartment for a while, and then one day when I was sitting in front of my typewriter staring at a blank sheet of paper wondering what to write, I idly tapped out the words ‘Mr. and Mrs. Brown first met Paddington on a railway platform. In fact, that was how he came to have such an unusual name for a bear, for Paddington was the name of the station.’ It was a simple act, and in terms of deathless prose, not exactly earth shattering, but it was to change my life considerably. … Without intending it, I had become a children’s author.” Michael Bond, creator of the Paddington Bear series, has died at 91, reports NPR. We’d like to think that Bond might have appreciated our own Jacob Lambert‘s series, “Are Picture Books Leading Children Astray?” – in particular this entry questioning the moral fiber of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “I feel nothing. I think: What an ugly place for it to happen. I call it The Accident. I didn’t hear, or see, or feel any of it, or if I did, I stored it somewhere irretrievable even to me.” Gloria Harrison‘s essay “Where the Highway Splits” stuns over at The Rumpus.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • Out this week: The Windfall by Diksha BasuQuiet Until the Thaw by Alexandra FullerThe Destroyers by Christopher BollenRiver Under the Road by Scott Spencer; The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon; and Modern Gods by Nick Laird. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • “Millennials in America are more likely to have visited a public library in the past year than any other adult generation.” Pew Research Center drops the boom mic. Pair with this confession by a self-proclaimed librarian drone.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “I’ve learnt so much from this profound novelist about nuance, understatement, technique.” Eighteen handwritten homages to Jane Austen by well-known writers are up for auction until tomorrow. Margaret Atwood, Kazuo Ishiguro, Hilary Mantel, and Ian McEwan are among the authors whose tributes will raise funds for the Royal Society of Literature, reports The Guardian. And read our interview with Curtis Sittenfeld, whose most-recent novel Eligible is the ultimate literary tribute, an adaptation of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “This is how he justified what he did even as he knew what kind of parent he’d become, the kind that used to make him gag as recently as two months ago. The ones who blithely assumed their online friends were gluttons for punishment. Here’s my baby lying on his back! And here’s my baby also lying on his back! And how about this one: blurry baby on his back! Good God, the vanity of it all, the epic self-centeredness. He knew all this, and still he uploaded eleven pictures of Brian.” An excerpt of Victor LaValle’s new novel The Changeling(You could also read our interview with the author from last year.)


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Is it possible to figure out Shakespeare’s politics from his plays? At the very least, there’s a lot we can learn.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • “I saw a novel with a mysterious-looking black woman on the cover. That was why I picked it up – because of the African woman on the cover of a book in the Science Fiction and Fantasy section. I read the first page and my eyes nearly popped out.” Book Riot has a killer roundup of posts in honor of Octavia Butler‘s birthday today, including five other sci-fi authors on being inspired by her writing (that’s Nnedi Okorafor above). Pair with our own Edan Lepucki‘s consideration of Butler’s novel Kindred.


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    ~Kirstin Butler

Read More The Millions Top 10 May 2017