Sam Tanenhaus, musing about the New Yorker “young writers” list points out that, far from being a writer’s formative years, many of the great classics in literary history were penned by writers in their 30s, or younger.
“To get me through a 550-page collection, the stories must be very good indeed. These are.” When Lionel Shriver participated in our Year in Reading ritual several years back, she dedicated her reading diary to William Trevor, who just passed away. “Trevor’s writing is so perfect that you don’t even notice it’s perfect,” she wrote. “He mainlines pure narrative directly into your veins. The words never get in the way; the words, like their author, disappear.”
Don’t worry, everybody — Anita Thompson, widow of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, has finally returned the prized pair of antlers that Thompson stole from the Idaho home of Ernest Hemingway, himself. The antlers, which he stole while in Idaho on assignment reporting on Hemingway’s suicide, had hung in Thompson’s garage for the past fifty-four years.
Members of the Word Reference forum contemplate the etymology and meaning of the “A” in the expression, “Fuckin’ A.” Elsewhere Geoffrey Nunberg, linguist and author of Assholism: The First Sixty Years, shares his take on the ubiquitous “a-word,” which he believes originated during World War II.
“[E]ven though he was already sick with the illness that would eventually become the tuberculosis that killed him, Orwell left London to live on the Scottish island of Jura (off and on) for the next few years, where he could try to focus on writing fiction instead of journalism.” Nathan Gelgud creates a wonderful illustrated origin story of 1984 for Signature Reads. Pair with this piece on the fall (literally) of the ur-Orwellian home.
A San Francisco prisoner wanted to read werewolf erotica so badly that he took it to state court. The case has brought up problems with prison censorship and calls to mind Avi Steinberg’s memoir, Running the Books: Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian (here’s our review.)