Larry Rohter at the New York Times relates the darker, more cynical Mark Twain that has emerged through publication of the first volume of his unexpurgated autobiography, a century after his death: “One thing that gets Mark Twain going is his rage and resentment.”
At Guernica, Kirsten O’Regan delves into labiaplasty, a “relatively unregulated, frequently botched” and scarily popular new surgery. The oddest (and saddest) thing she learns about the procedure? Apparently a lot of young mothers urge their daughters to do it.
“Much of the time, though, readers will be thinking that the ‘literary correspondence’ is something we’re well shot of – a postwar embarrassment, like child labour, meat rationing and outdoor toilets.” Martin Amis reviews the recent collection of Philip Larkin’s love letters, Letters to Monica, at Guardian.
The B.O.M.M. blog looked at our recent item Best American Short Stories: By the Numbers, in which we crunched some numbers behind the Best American Short Stories series, and created a nifty word map of the short story titles that appeared in the series from 1978 to 2008. “The most frequent word for a title (not including articles and such)? Life. It has appeared 9 times.” If anyone else decides to mine some interesting discoveries from the B.A.S.S. data, let us know.
In his review of Lee Friedlander’s collection, Playing for the Benefit of the Band: New Orleans Music Culture, Nathaniel Rich remarks on the “unsettling beauty” of the artist’s photographs.
Good versus evil, a hero coming of age, wars, and sibling love — Star Wars is the play William Shakespeare never wrote. Fortunately, Ian Doescher rewrote the tale of the Jedi in iambic pentameter in William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. The best part is the book trailer, which features Shakespearean actors wielding lightsabers.