Languagehat points to the curious origins of the idiom “red herring.”
There are reality TV shows for aspiring designers, singers, and chefs, so what about writers? The Italian reality show Masterpiece will pit writers against each other in competition for a book deal. As judge Giancarlo De Cataldo said, “The book is dying, and we must do everything we can to save it. Even a talent show.” We expect a lot of dramatic crying at typewriters.
Recommended RSS-ing: A better word of the day from artist Tory Hoke, who pairs each unusual word with a hand-drawn comic. Friday's entry, "spurcitious," is charmingly defined in relation to a thumb and a hammer. Hate pictures? Other tried-and-true options include curators at Merriam-Webster, The New York Times, and this guy on Twitter.
Murray Farish's debut collection, Inappropriate Behavior, includes tales of fictionalized or alternative history that incline toward the surreal. He discusses the "principally and unaccountably strange" with Evelyn Somers, who has written about his work before, at Bloom. Fancy yourself more weirdness? Head to Weird Fiction Review curated by Jeff VanderMeer, whose Southern Reach trilogy was just released in one volume.
"As I read her words, I experienced a feeling previously unknown to me: recognition. I had always turned to books for pleasure, as portals to other places. Reading The Woman Warrior, for the first time I saw myself on every page and in every word." For Catapult, Alexis Cheung writes about representation, being an Asian-American writer, and reading and interviewing Maxine Hong Kingston. From our archives: Kingston's work was featured in Alexander Chee's 2015 Year in Reading.
"The eradication of Terry Pratchett’s unfinished works, the zeros and ones of his hard drive ground into the earth at the Great Dorset Steam Fair, is an imaginative exception to the rule." The Paris Review questions how we publish an authors posthumous works and whether there's a better way to do so. Pair with: our 2017 Select Literary Obituaries.
Perhaps best known for her fiction, specifically her classic The Group, Mary McCarthy became a novelist almost by chance. "McCarthy was good at recycling – a term which she used herself – and good, also, as she admitted, at plagiarizing her own life. Nevertheless, her fiction lives, and some of it has been highly influential." Margaret Drabble takes us through McCarthy's major works of fiction, featured in Mary McCarthy: The Complete Fiction which was released this year in a deluxe collection for the very first time.