Here’s a thing you’ve probably never thought of before: the sheer weirdness of some of the Christmas rituals in many canonical children’s books. In The Irish Times, Rosita Boland catalogues a few of the stranger ones, including Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Christmas dinner in summer and Lucy’s gift of a dagger in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Masha Gessen (who recently agreed to write a book on the Boston bombers) told a journalist in New Zealand she’s “probably” moving out of Russia. Why? “It’s one thing to bring up your kids in a place that’s risky and difficult; I think in many ways it’s enriching them, and I’m glad my kids have that experience,” she said. “It’s another thing to bring up your kids in a place that’s hopeless. “
Adam Gopnik at the New Yorker comments on why we still write to win prizes (and hails Mario Vargas Llosa for having “a lively personal life that includes once punching out another future laureate...Gabriel García Márquez, reportedly over something to do with Mrs. Vargas Llosa. The Nobel thus not only crowns a career but provides the basis for a fine future Javier Bardem/Antonio Banderas movie.”)
For the Poetry Foundation blog, David Winter interviews Night Sky With Exit Wounds author Ocean Vuong about poetry, how art is like public transportation, and turning your back on your own work. Pair with Andrew Kay’s Millions essay on the power of poetry.