Charles Dickens turns 200 in February, which is one good explanation for two new biographies (Charles Dickens: A Life) and (Becoming Dickens) appearing just in time. But even more importantly, why is now the perfect time to read him? Here’s one hint: the man’s vast social imagination.
"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.
Recommended viewing: Open Culture has tracked down two animated adaptations of Dostoevksy's work. There's one of his short story "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man" "in full-on existentialist mode," and slightly more ambitious (though dramatically abridged) short film of Crime and Punishment.
For 50 years, The New York Review of Books has written some of the best headlines in the business. Matthew Howard rounds up every headline. Our favorites include: "Don't Sing Your Crap," "How Unpleasant to Meet Mr. Baudelaire!", "Welcome to New Dork," "It's Your Fault, Henry James," and "Portrait of the Artist as a Paradox."
Thanks to her new book, Lydia Davis is getting a lot of well-deserved attention, including an interview with Salon this week. In conversation with Brendan Matthews, she reflects on her “letters of complaint,” her habit of juggling multiple projects and the effects of translating Proust on writing emails.
"I think the key to social media for authors is remembering this: its main purpose is really to show that you are a real human being who lives in this world." Year in Reading alums (respectively) Celeste Ng, Alexander Chee, Roxane Gay, and Adam M. Grant talk to LitHub about how to be a writer on the internet.