Say goodbye to Binky and Sheba, everybody. After 32 years, Matt Groening pulled the plug on his Life In Hell comic last week with this installment. If you’re unfamiliar with the strip, you can play a round of catch-up by scouring this German website’s 70-strip archive.
“A lot of writers are big readers. Very often, when you’re writing your day’s work, something you write will remind you of something that you read. And the thing that you read shines a kind of light on the sentences that you’re writing. So I think it would be very hard to write without having read a great deal.” Listen to Salman Rushdie chat with Paul Holdengraber about poetry, film, and his latest project. Liam Hoare writes on the implications of Rushdie’s fatwa.
In the wake of the fire that destroyed much of the manuscript collection at the Institut d'Egypte on Saturday, scores of pro-democracy protesters have told of their efforts to salvage books and other rare documents from the smoking ruins.
"The entire manuscript was written with the E-type bar of the typewriter tied down; thus making it impossible for that letter to be printed. This was done so that none of that vowel might slip in, accidentally; and many did try to do so!" Abe Books tells the tale of Gadsby, a self-published 50,000-word novel written without using the letter "e." Its author, Ernest Vincent Wright, won some notoriety when he accomplished the feat – called a lipogram – in 1939, although it's unlikely Wright could have foreseen that individual copies of his book would eventually fetch prices upward of $1,200. And if it's literary hijinks you're after, definitely read our own Anne Yoder on the work of Georges Perec, who wrote a lipogram of his own in 1969.
Photographer Doug Rickard employs an interesting technique for his “A New American Picture” series: Google Street View. Check out the shots he took while he “virtually [drove] the unseen and overlooked roads of America, to find bleak places that are forgotten, economically devastated, and abandoned.”
"Is This a Golden Age for Women Essayists?" Cheryl Strayed and Benjamin Moser debate in this week's The New York Times's Bookends column. Pair their piece with Anne Boyd Rioux's Millions article examining gender equity and lack thereof in nonfiction writing.
What inspired Wally Lamb's latest novel, We Are Water? Part of it came from his experience teaching writing at a women's prison in Connecticut for the past 14 years. He spoke to The Missouri Review about what it's like to teach "the incarcerated wounded" and how they have influenced his work. "With my fiction, I’ve never been afraid to go to the dark places, but I think the women have made me more daring."