“I am nostalgic for letters. There’s a craft that’s been lost in expressing some kind of desire or passion or bodily experience for someone else.” From James Joyce to Frida Kahlo, The Guardian collects bits of great artists’ erotic missives to one another. And speaking of literary love letters, how about Nicholson Baker‘s Vox [ed. note: it makes a great Valentine’s Day gift]?
“As I got older, the Nigerian scam artist turned into a meme. The ‘Nigerian prince’ became a joke tossed around by white people with the same ease that ‘Italian mobster’ jokes were likely tossed around in the ‘70s—but aided now by the internet. Whenever I came across casual references to my people as scam artists, I’d wince. There was more to us than the scam. Hell—there was even more to the scam.” On how novelist Teju Cole helped Ijeoma Oluo make peace with the Nigerian scam artist.
The diary novel may be “an under-attended” genre, but Johannah King-Slutzky is trying to remedy that. In an essay for The Hairpin she traces the diary novel’s history from the Victorian era to Go Ask Alice while examining the genre’s balance of “melodrama and awkward moralizing” with the potential for subversion.
The Orient Express began service on this day in 1883—Paris to Istanbul in 83.5 hours. Agatha Christie may be the most famous writer to have capitalized on the train’s romantic allure, but the list of books begins decades before her (Dracula, for example) and goes for decades after.