“Many students do not rate their knowledge very highly… they often doubt the possibility of mastering both pen and sword. A problem like this one, I realized not long ago, demands some special assistance. Thus, with all the earnest discretion of a Victorian lady in distress, I have appealed to none other than Mr. Sherlock Holmes.” The New Republic posts an essay on teaching Sherlock Holmes at West Point.
“To the list of differences between men and women, we can add one more: the drug-dose gender gap. Doctors and researchers increasingly understand that there can be striking variations in the way men and women respond to drugs, many of which are tested almost exclusively on males.” On the strikingly persistent gender gap in pain.
Jacob Silverman tackles the niceness epidemic besieging literary criticism at the moment. Where have the hatchet jobs gone? Is social media’s “communalism” robbing critics of their fangs? Each time a publication refuses to print a negative review, the act amounts to “a victory for a publicist, but not for readers,” he writes. (Just a few notes: Silverman’s piece is based on a blog post he wrote recently; Emma Straub has responded on her own blog; and, for what it’s worth, our own Michael Bourne’s recent review of Richard Ford’s Canada was pretty toothy.)
Talk about burying the lede. This article about Alec Baldwin’s return to television acting, and how he’ll be playing “a Rob Ford-type mayor of New York,” doesn’t make a big deal out of the show’s pilot writer. But it should. Because his name is Wells Tower.
“I saw a novel with a mysterious-looking black woman on the cover. That was why I picked it up – because of the African woman on the cover of a book in the Science Fiction and Fantasy section. I read the first page and my eyes nearly popped out.” Book Riot has a killer roundup of posts in honor of Octavia Butler‘s birthday today, including five other sci-fi authors on being inspired by her writing (that’s Nnedi Okorafor above). Pair with our own Edan Lepucki‘s consideration of Butler’s novel Kindred.
Roger Boylan at the Boston Review writes about the flourishing posthumous career of Mark Twain: “…more than 5,000 previously unknown letters of Twain’s have surfaced in the last 50 years. This represents an average of two new letters per week, but still only about one-tenth of the 50,000 or so he is believed to have written.” And at Slate, Craig Fehrman discusses the “brilliant brand management” behind the handling of Twain’s autobiography.
“I was absolutely horrified. Wouldn’t have known if not for a Russian reader who read both editions. Publisher in total breach of contract.” The Guardian reports that author VE Schwab was “devastated” to learn scenes from her fantasy series Shades of Magic have been excised from Russian translations for featuring queer characters. See also: a consideration of the commercial viability of LGBTQ lit.