Nominees for The Bookseller Diagram Prize for the Oddest Title of the Year have been announced. My favorite, which to me is not odd at all actually, is Bacon: A Love Story. Scatology abounds in this list, including: Peek-a-poo:What’s in Your Diaper, and The Origin of Faeces.
“Of all the work produced from this region no one observer gets the place or the people completely right,” Rob Amberg writes about his 40 years spent photographing Appalachia. His photo essay “Up the Creek” is part of The Oxford American’s “Portraying Appalachia” Symposium.
Wallace Shawn has written a new play, and it’s unsettling to watch. In it, a group of wealthy, middle-aged party hosts reveal their roles in a dystopian future, where political murders, random beatings and censorship are all commonplace. In an essay for The New York Review of Books, Francine Prose reviews the play in the context of Shawn’s other works.
“When she got to a passage in the book about a ‘slump,’ she looked at the children and said, ‘So sometimes you don’t feel good, right? But then – what do you do?’ The children waited.” Via Slate’s Katy Waldman, a look at the world’s greatest pool report.
It’s time again for spring cleaning, as well as the more enjoyable spring reading. Scott Esposito at Conversational Reading is gearing up for Your Face This Spring, which will read the entire 1200 pages of Javier Marías‘s Your Face Tomorrow trilogy. And Big Other is orchestrating a group read of Flann O’Brien‘s At Swim-Two-Birds. After you finish a closet, open a book–both start next week.
Adding to the general hand-wringing over the state of the humanities, Lee Siegel contradicts Leon Wieseltier’s lament that fewer college students are majoring in literature by contending that modern literature courses ruin the joy of reading. “For every college professor who made Shakespeare or Lawrence come alive for the lucky few,” he writes, “there were countless others who made the reading of literary masterpieces seem like two hours in the periodontist’s chair.” (You can also read a similar argument from a humanities professor in The New Republic.)