Though the world may never know whether reading the greats makes you a better person, according to a recent study, those who take an active interest in the arts are more likely to be altruistic.
British novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard has died at the age of 90. She was famous for The Cazalet Chronicles and her literary love affairs with Kingsley Amis (one of her three husbands), Cecil Day-Lewis, and Arthur Koestler. Despite that her writing career spanned 60 years, she admitted that she found writing frightening in a recent interview. “You’ve got to be pretty nervous about the challenge, the blank page – anything could be on it, it could be crap or it could be wonderful.”
“Woken is the usual past participle of the verb wake in modern English, but in some historical and contemporary varieties the past tense form woke is also used as a past participle.” The Oxford English Dictionary offers notes on the more than 600 new words, phrases, and senses added to its lexicon this quarter, including hygge, particle zoo, post-truth, and woke. Perhaps the OED can help our own Edan Lepucki, who needs help giving 11 feelings and experiences names.
“Publishers, writers, and readers alike really need to sit down and take this trend [the rise of self-publishing] seriously, rather than using the poetry.coms and AuthorHouses of the world as straw-men, scapegoats, piñatas, or other bludgeonable what-have-yous in the same tired and ineffectual arguments about how the Internet is ruining the publishing industry.”
Patti Smith’s M Train was released this Tuesday. Geoffrey O’Brien reviews her memoir at The New York Review of Books: “Perhaps M Train represents the attempt by someone whose career is as public as can be imagined to stake out a zone of inviolable privacy, albeit through the public act of writing a book meant for publication.” Need more music? Check out our Torch Ballads and Jukebox Music column.