Adorable pictures of baby hippos aside, it’s a common misconception that animals are “smiling” at you out of sincere happiness. Probably you’re projecting that onto them, writes Lee Dye in a piece from 2010. For more on the perils of assigning human qualities to other animal species, I highly recommend checking out Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy’s When Elephants Weep.
One big round of applause for everyone; according to a new study, if you read books you will earn more money. Importantly, the cap seems to be around ten books per year–any more than this and the correlation between books read and income per year dissipates. But don’t let that stop you!
New this week is Jonathan Evison’s West of Here, Joyce Carol Oates’ memoir A Widow’s Story about the death of her husband (this was the source of her recent, quite moving essay in the New Yorker), and the expanded rerelease of Alexander Theroux’s The Strange Case of Edward Gorey. Also new on shelves from NYRB Classics is Irretrievable by Theodor Fontane, with an introduction by Phillip Lopate, who discussed Fontane in our Year in Reading in December.
Maybe the Mayans were right about 2012. In a sign that the end times are surely nigh, MTV2 has decided to bring back Hollywood Squares “but with a modern twist.” The unfortunately-named Hip Hop Squares will feature Nick Cannon, Ghostface Killah, DJ Khaled, Lamarr Woodley and… Bam Margera?
A few weeks back, Indiana Review editor Joe Hiland shared his list of stories he most often rejects. Now, Michael Mlekoday, the publication’s poetry editor, does likewise with his list of “Five Marks of Oft-Rejected Poems.” Meanwhile, Missouri Review editor Michael Nye has some qualms about this type of post.
Out this week: Flâneuse by Lauren Elkin; Abandon Me by Melissa Febos; Lower Ed by Tressie McMillan Cottom; Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler; No Other World by Rahul Mehta; Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan; and To Be a Machine by our own Mark O’Connell (who we interviewed recently). For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.