Anna Holmes takes a good look at Hunger Games Tweets, the Tumblr dedicated to rounding up the astonishing number of racist and culturally careless fans of Suzanne Collins’ books. Later on, she mentions a University of Wisconsin study which found that “only 9% of the 3,400 children’s books published [in 2010] contained significant cultural or ethnic diversity.”
When asked about his tenure as a professor of creative writing, Harry Crews used to say, "I may be at the university, but I damn sure ain’t of the university." But in talking to his former students, Crews's biographer, Ted Geltner, found that in spite of the writer's efforts to distance himself from academia, he really was a passionate, memorable teacher. (Bonus: Yours truly named one Crews work his "most representative" Florida book.)
Recommended Reading: This excerpt from The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains by Thomas Laqueur. In it, Laqueur explores the cultural peculiarities of mourning and the necrobotany of the yew tree, or “tree of the dead.”
Today would be author Stanley Elkin's 80th. On this occasion, one fan posts an excerpt from The Franchiser and suggests "Read it out loud three times: the first to hear the sounds, the second to feel your mouth and tongue and throat make the sounds, the third time to listen to what Elkin is saying."
Today is Haruki Murakami's birthday, so what better day to announce the title of his next work, Kishidancho Goroshi (Killing Commendatore)? The novel, which is divided in two parts - Arawareru Idea (Emerging Idea) and Utsurou Metaphor (Moving Metaphor) - is slated for a late February release in Japan. As of this writing, very little is known about the novel's plot.
"He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided later, lying in his bed, after they had played several rounds of various games, and didn’t hunt one another at all." You probably encountered Richard Connell's The Most Dangerous Game at some point during your educational career -- you definitely never came across this "comforting and anodyne" version, though.
While working with Australia’s Lajamanu Aboriginal population in remote sections of the Tanami Desert, linguist Carmel O’Shannessy identified “a [new] language system, independent of … other languages” spoken by about 300 people. Since her initial discovery in the late 1990s, O’Shannessy has studied the language and its grammatical structure, and now her findings have been published this month in the journal Language (PDF).