Over at Threepenny Review, Jess Row expounds on “blandness” in the work of Haruki Murakami, and particularly in his 2.8 lb. tome 1Q84—a book tabbed by Charles Baxter in last year’s Year in Reading as the best he’d read all year. Row contemplates the way Murakami’s characters and sentences “almost never lose this placid, observant neutrality,” or “continuous monotone.”
Even if you've already seen the outstanding documentary Wordplay, you'll still want to check out this Atlantic article on how Will Shortz makes his New York Times crossword puzzles.
"Without any clear and agreed upon sense for what to be aiming at in a life, people may experience the paralyzing type of indecision depicted by T.S. Eliot in his famously vacillating character Prufrock; or they may feel, like the characters in a Samuel Beckett play, as though they are continuously waiting for something to become clear… or they may feel the kind of “stomach level sadness” that David Foster Wallace described…" Sean D. Kelly navigates past nihilism for the New York Times.
A group of Austrian artists aims to “reconfigure and recontextualize” a memorial to Austrian poet Josef Weinheber, who engaged in Nazi activities and wrote numerous pro-Hitler propaganda pieces. Michael Kaminer caught up with Eduard Freudmann, the leader of the Vienna-based push for recontextualization, who hopes to spark a debate “about how to proceed with the … artistic reconfiguration of a Nazi monument.”
Submissions are open for the Oxford American's Jeff Baskin Writers Fellowship, which awards a $10,000 living stipend, housing, and an editorial apprenticeship toward a nine-month residency with the magazine. The goal is to support the writing of a debut work of creative nonfiction, and the application deadline is midnight EST, March 30, 2017.
There are a lot of writers who work in advertising, and it's starting to have an impact. People are more likely to love brands if there is a story involved, according to a new study. "We’ve known for a long time there is no ‘buy’ button in the brain. But these results show there’s a ‘story’ button," neuroscientist Paul Zak says. Pair with: Our essay on working at a creative agency after getting your MFA.