In the new Penguin Book of Witches, Katherine Howe assembles documents from three centuries of witch hunts—including arrest warrants, trial transcripts, and even apologies from a judge and jury in Salem. Per Genevieve Valentine at NPR, the historical record opens up to reveal that, far from being a spooky anomaly or simple mirror of McCarthyism, the echoes of the witch hunts are immediately present in coverage of the unrest in Ferguson, MO, where journalists struggled to present nuanced reporting amid a wave of impassioned social unrest....more
Posts Tagged: NPR
Lena Dunham launched her collection of personal essays, Not that Kind of Girl, yesterday. At NPR, the filmmaker, actress, and author discusses oversharing, sexual assault, and pornography. Dunham did not get through the week without controversy, though. Gawker wrote up a click-bait attack on Dunham criticizing her book tour....more
…short stories [are] a venerable form, but it’s diabolically hard to master. There’s a lot of apprenticeship in writing stories. And sometimes a story can take such a long time to write — I mean, months and months. … It’s only 10 or 15 pages, but still you got to get it right.
“It’s sort of like comparing making a fire and building a house,” he says. “A song is fire. You react to it primarily, instantly. You don’t have to decide whether you like it, and you don’t really have to sit down and think about it much after you’re done listening to it.
The words we never think about reveal a lot about what we’re saying. Filler words—this, though, I, an, and, that, and there—are so common we never really think about them, but they give away a lot of information....more
NPR reports that floating library pop-up is coming to New York City in the Hudson River. The Floating Library is the work of artist Beatrice Glow and will feature books and chapbooks of underrepresented authors and poets as well as an outdoor reading room. The project will run from Saturday, September 6th through October 3rd and will be housed on an old steamship....more
Homogeneity in the literary scene isn’t a recent development. Earlier this year, Junot Diaz caused a stir by branding the unbearable too-whiteness of his workshop experience. Justin Torres and Ayana Mathis couldn’t help but contribute:
“One of the characters is sort of referred to as having something like almond skin, something that would identify the character as black.
In a quest for meaning, NPR compares the Ebola epidemic to Albert Camus’s The Plague.
The Plague doesn’t have a happy ending, of course, though it’s not quite as hopeless as you might think. Initially, Dr. Rieux is a little resigned to the disease that’s threatening his city: “One hardly knows what a dead man is, after a while,” Camus writes.
Michael Gove, Britain’s Education Secretary, is rewriting Britain’s public school curriculum to be more British. To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, and The Crucible are among the titles being dropped from required reading lists.
“I put this in the context of what’s going on in Europe and the world at large, which is a growing nationalism, a growing suspicion of other people’s perspectives and ideas and values,” says Christopher Bigsby, professor of American Studies at the University of East Anglia and author of a biography of Miller....more
NPR has an interview with author Tom Robbins about his new memoir, Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life. He gives some insight into his experience as a novelist-turned-memoirist, saying that writing a memoir is like driving down a once-familiar road,
…but there are potholes in it now, and some fast-food franchises sprung up along the way, and there’s occasionally a blind curve that you might not remember.
When my father died my mother was still alive. And I think when your second parent dies, there is that shock: “Oh man, I’m an orphan.” There’s also this relief: It’s done; it’s finished; it’s over. Because I had felt for so many years that there was this sense of going through this whole passage, this whole last part of their lives, and all the emotional and practical difficulties of that.
“When Nabokov started translating [his English-language memoir] into Russian, he recalled a lot of things that he did not remember when he was writing it in English, and so in essence it became a somewhat different book,” Pavlenko says.
At NPR’s health blog, Shots, Alan Yu explores the controversial linguistic idea that the language(s) we speak helps shape how we perceive the world....more
Here’s a small glimpse of her conversation with Code Switch’s Kat Chow, this bit on a recent comic she drew for the Rumpus:
…with “Moon Between The Mountains,” it honestly started as a random doodle of a kitty human being left on the door step of these strange, wrinkly-looking people.
The blog’s creator, Malisha Dewalt, recently participated in a roundtable chat with other art historians and medievalists for NPR’s Code Switch....more
“She’s not a hiker but … that hiking boot on the cover caught her eye. And she was just halfway into chapter one when she said she sat bolt upright in bed and realized that we had the same father.”
Cheryl Strayed (aka Dear Sugar) talks to NPR about finding the half-sister she had never met through her memoir Wild and a stroke of random luck....more
Mexico’s lucha libre—professional wrestling conducted by bombastic masked luchadores—is fairly well known in the United States.
But many of us haven’t heard of los exóticos, gay luchadores who often wear makeup and make a show of flirting with their opponents....more
Both of these essays (“You are the Second Person” and “The Worst of White Folks”) are included in his new book, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, published last week....more
It explained that the growing popularity of book series like The Hunger Games among teenagers is an indirect cause of this, forcing classics that formerly dominated high school summer reading lists—”Sophocles, Shakespeare, Dickens, George Bernard Shaw, Emily Bronte and Edith Wharton”—out of academic consciousness....more