With the Nobel Prize for Literature to be awarded on October 7th, speculation is heating up at the Literary Saloon as to who might be this year’s main contenders.
It’s not easy being a seagull. Over at the London Review of Books, Mary Wellesley takes a sympathetic look at how the much-maligned bird has been treated throughout the history of literature. Afterwards, let this essay from The Millions by Kristen Scharold on the joys of birdwatching lift your spirits a bit.
Over at Indian Country Today Media Network, read a statement in response to the controversy surrounding J.K. Rowling’s History of Magic in North America. “What matters here, folks, in this debate over J.K. Rowling’s latest work is the language society uses – the language that is still taught to kids in schools today about Native Americans and our spiritualities.”
“One lie I tell is that we care, generally—human beings—about each other. We could not, I tell myself in the moments just before the night’s dark hour, create The Odyssey or King Lear or Thomas and Beulah without a profound sense of The Other. Surely, were it true this thing’s a joke, nothing more, and a cruel one at that, we’d have no Dickinson, no Yeats, no freakin’ Rumi, read by Bly, loud on an old tape deck while I shower.” Pablo Tanguay on the art of lying.
Are we now living in a golden age of the uncanny? The Millions contributor Porochista Khakpour suspects that we are, and she also suspects that our historical moment, populated as it is with alienating developments and surreal art, is key to understanding the work of Helen Oyeyemi. In the Times, Khakpour reviews Oyeyemi’s new novel. (You could also read both writers’ Year in Reading pieces.)
In a time of crisis, any decision is better than no decision at all. That line--credited to Theodore Roosevelt--is pop conventional wisdom. An excellent piece at Aeon explores the full implications of the line, and may just convince you that your next impossible choice should be made by a soothsayer, a lottery, or a flipped coin.