Curiosities

February 16, 2015

No Lie 0

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Everybody lies, or so the saying goes. But how long have we known this was true? At Slate, Katy Waldman reviews a new history of lying, delving into the knotty philosophy behind efforts to excuse deceit. You could also read our own Edan Lepucki and Janet Potter on deceit as it pertains to Gone Girl.

February 16, 2015

The Boy Who Mattered 0

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Not sure why Harry Potter shares the fruits of his heroism? Upset that Hermione doesn’t end up with tons of cash? Well, then you should sit down with Ayn Rand’s version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, helpfully published at The Toast by Mallory Ortberg.

February 15, 2015

Writing About Suicide 0

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Recommended reading: Philip Connors, whose memoir All the Wrong Places was included in our 2015 Book Preview, writes for the New Yorker about his brother’s death and the problems with “cathartic” writing.

February 15, 2015

Cultural Commentator 0

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“I think people always expect artists to have a larger understanding of the issues they write about. People have looked to writers and artists forever and asked them to be cultural commentators or political commentators, which can be very scary because I can only speak to my own perspective, and I’m figuring this out along […]

February 14, 2015

Self-Portraits and Sherry 0

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On Emily Dickinson‘s self-portrait, sherry, the power of handwriting and those notes we all passed around in junior high, from the Kenyon Review blog.

February 14, 2015

Love Advice from Chaucer 0

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“Ich am Geoffrey Chaucer, and my litel poeme the Parliament of Foweles was the first to combyne the peanut buttir of Februarye the XIVth wyth the milk chocolate of wooing. And so Ich feel responsible to helpe wyth sum advyce on thys daye.” Love advice from Chaucer, via NPR.

February 14, 2015

French Poe 0

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Recommended reading: On understanding Poe‘s “electric lights of imaginative literature” less as the dark products of American Romanticism so much as the works of “a kind of displaced European” poet.

February 13, 2015

Marriage in Literature 0

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In response to the Bookends question, “What is the Best Portrayal of a Marriage in Literature?,” Year in Reading alum Leslie Jamison writes movingly about the poetry of Jack Gilbert and concludes that “this is marriage: not knowing one’s wife but constantly relearning her, not possessing her but rediscovering her, constantly finding a new beloved within the already […]

February 13, 2015

Jante Law 0

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Recommended reading: Michael Booth writes for The Paris Review about the work of Danish author Aksel Sandemose and the “enduring mark on the national character” his satirical Jante Law has left.

February 13, 2015

Harper Lee’s Hullabaloo 0

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There’s been an incredible amount of both excitement and controversy ever since Harper Lee‘s publisher announced the upcoming publication of Go Set a Watchman, the reclusive author’s second novel. But in a piece for Ploughshares Cathe Shubert wonders “Why not marvel at what all this hullabaloo in the news really signifies: that books still matter, […]