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Saving William Blake’s House

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William Blake lived in a cottage in West Sussex for three years beginning in 1800. Now the cottage is up for sale and the Blake Society wants to save the house for historic purposes. They negotiated a discounted price with the owners and are hoping to crowdsource the £520,000 necessary to buy the property and turn it into a museum, reports the Guardian.

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Weekend Rumpus Roundup

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This Sunday, Ted Wilson turned five. Happy anniversary, Ted!

In the latest “Last Book I Loved,” Michelle King finds a kindred spirit in Sylvia Plath, who, the first time she kissed husband Ted Hughes, allegedly bit his cheek and drew blood.

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Indie Bookstore Road Trip

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Independent bookstores will save the world, or at least the publishing industry, maybe. Josh Weil and Mike Harvkey took a road trip across the country, exploring independent bookstores. They found a collection of dedicated shops and local literary communities, but that didn’t answer the fundamental question: how important are independent bookstores are to writers?

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The Devil Finds Work

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Combining The Exorcist, New Jersey, and James Baldwin, among other things, Nick Ripatrazone reviews William Giraldi’s new novel, Hold the Dark, at The Millions. He contemplates Giraldi’s place in contemporary Catholic literature, using his fiction, alongside Cormac McCarthy’s and Christopher Beha’s, to draw larger claims on religion, the manifestations of Satan, and realism.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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On Tuesday, Guernica published “Walking on Water,” an excerpt from Payem Faeli’s 2010 novella, I Will Grow, I Will Bear Fruit… Figs. In this excerpt, translated into English by Sarah Khalili, Faeli provides a meditative taste of the novella’s wandering narrator, a young boy in search of a name.

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Notable Chicago: 9/12—9/18

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Friday 9/12: Media powerhouse Tavis Smiley is in town to promote his newest text Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. King Jr.’s Final Year at the Union League of Chicago. Smiley hosts a late-night program on PBS, a talk show on PRI, and a daily online show on his own network.

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A Whole Jar of Change

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Make your way to The New Yorker, where Elif Batuman makes an inquiry into what has become a dominant American disposition: awkwardness. “Awkwardness,” Batuman argues, “is the consciousness of a false position.”

Here is the top-rated definition of awkward in Urban Dictionary: “Passing a homeless person on your way to a Coin Star machine.” In other words, denying that you have any spare change while carrying a whole jar of change, a transparent column of money, right in front of the person.

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Ladies Are Taking Over Crime

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Laura Miller opines that male-authored crime novels are a bit too predictable. Instead…

 I’ve found instead that the crime novels I open with the keenest anticipation these days are almost always by women. These are books that trespass the established boundaries of their genre, adding a dash — or more than a dash — of fabulism, or lingering over characters who used to serve as the mere furniture of the old-style hard-boiled fiction.

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