This week brings the release of Michael Crichton’s posthumously published tale of the high seas, Pirate Latitudes and A Good Fall, a new collection of stories by Ha Jin. Also out recently is Melville House’s Roberto Bolaño: The Last Interview.
What if Petrarch had blurbed The Divine Comedy, or Shakespeare, "author of Tony Award-winning sensation Hamlet," had reviewed Don Quixote? Tom Rachman imagines these blurbs and more for The Rumpus, and his piece pairs well with our brief history of the blurb.
Skateboarder Patrik Wallner snuck some video footage of North Korea around the time of the 100th birthday celebrations for its deceased ruler Kim Il-Sung. His footage shines a vivid and personal light on what’s otherwise a very concealed and distant nation.
Last year, Netherland author Joseph O'Neill helped open the Maya School, a school for Syrian refugee children in Turkey. Now he's asking for donations of additional funds to keep the school operational. "We have set up a transparent and cost-effective partnership with Turkish counterparts of great integrity and knowhow," O'Neill writes. "Of the $16,000 we raised last year, $3000 still remains. That tells you how far your dollars will go."
Calling all undergrads and grad students! McSweeney’s is holding their first-ever Student Short Story Contest. The grand prize -- $500 and publication in their 51st issue -- will go to the student who sends in the best story before the last day of August. Get cracking, but don’t go beyond their 7,500-word limit.
This is cool: in celebration of last week's Banned Books Week, Chapel Hill Public Library held a competition for local artists to create new work based on books that have been banned or challenged. Trading cards were printed from the winning selections, which you can see along with a gallery of all the entries.
Could “cozy literary fiction” ever be a thing? Mallory Ortberg at The Toast has penned a passionate defense of the unintentionally hilarious “cozy mystery” genre. Sate your mystery fix with this essay from The Millions’ own Matt Seidel on the four ways to wrap up a mystery tale.