“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.
James Salter reviews Paul Hendrickson's Hemingway's Boat for The New York Review of Books. Relatedly, Helena Price has been using 1000memories to compile "memory pages" to "explore the life of Ernest Hemingway as well as his friends and family." Of particular note is this poster imploring us to "Live the HemingWAY." Also related, The Paris Review shares a letter from Papa to his sister Ursala Hemingway.
Millions writer Sonya Chung has a trenchant essay up at Huffington Post on the topic of writing and motherhood: "Art Before Life: Questioning the Parenthood Question."
We've been back from our holiday travels for a few days, and I've finally had some time to catch up with some online reading. Here are some articles and links that caught my eye. (Several of these come from Arts and Letters Daily)From Scientific American, a look at last year's tsunami and how scientists have used this real life event to validate and augment various previously untested theories about these rare, cataclysmic events.The 2005 Dubious Data Awards: the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) at George Mason University highlights several examples of overhyped news stories based on dubious numbers.From Wired: Will the impending bird-flu pandemic be a global version of "the boy who cried wolf?" Scientists are trying to assess the real danger using supercomputers to play out fantastically complicated simulations that remind me of SimCity.In the Washington Post, Jonathan Yardley "reconsiders" C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower saga. He suggests Beat to Quarters as the best in the series.I've definitely become very interested in the business of newspapers in the last few years. Mike Hughlett's article in the Chicago Tribune is a little "inside baseball," but it lays out how important classified ads are to newspapers, and explains why newspapers aren't as imperiled in the in online classified arena as some might suggest.Another tough business is opening a coffee shop. Michael Idov shares the harrowing details of his experience at Slate.A no-frills list of the bestselling books from 1900 to 1998, year by year.
"An ideal essay is hard to define, but easy to point to. An ideal essay mines the “I” in efforts of high exposition. It is driven by a need to testify or witness, and demands the same of its reader. It is a glimpse of something uncomfortably recognizable, a requiem for the quotidian, a look over the newly-gilded edge." Samantha Tucker Iacovetto writes about "Defining the Ideal Essay" for Brevity's Nonfiction Blog
Over at The Washington Post, Jeff Guo makes a case against periods. As he puts it, “When we get excited, the pauses between our sentences shrink. We speak in run-ons. [...] A period feels too weighty.” Also check out this Millions piece on the benefits of excising quotation marks.