As you may have heard, this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of Sylvia Plath. It also, not coincidentally, marks the release of two new biographies: American Isis (the first to draw material from the recently-opened Ted Hughes archive) and Mad Girl’s Love Song (which looks at the poet’s relationship with her “big, dark, hunky boy”). Emma Garman weighs the impact of all this new scholarship at Salon.
It’s a common saying among actors that the script does most of the work. Which raises an interesting question: is it possible for a great writer to make art out of a bad story? At The Kenyon Review’s blog, Amit Majmudar says it is, using Shakespeare as proof. Related: five experts on the Bard’s greatest plays.
Amazon just announced a new program entitled Kindle MatchBook, “giv[ing] customers the option to buy—for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free—the Kindle edition of print books they have purchased new from Amazon.” MatchBook will include purchases made as far back as 1995, so you are officially out of excuses when it comes to cracking that lofty, intimidating TBR pile in your house.
“This is the first time that the college has embarked on such a robust process for measuring Core Educational Competency In Reading Things In Books And Writing About Them, and we really can’t do it without your mandated participation. We have devised this rubric in consultation with the Office of Institutional Research About the Institution, which tirelessly gathers data and then enters it into spreadsheets. Please see their Statement of Very Worthy Goals in attachment 6.”
Look, we get it. You’re as sad as the rest of us that Frank Ocean’s new album didn’t actually drop on Friday. Luckily, there’s a fantastic essay over at The Atlantic which examines Ocean in the context of Harper Lee and the myth of the reclusive artist: “Channel Orange, like Mockingbird, is an unapologetic masterpiece for people defining themselves at the intersection of lived experience and possibility.”
As Alden Jones puts it, a “sex-death-art trifecta” is the core of The Small Backs of Children, the new book by Lidia Yuknavitch. At The Rumpus, he talks with the author about the novel, which centers on a war photographer who takes an iconic photo in Eastern Europe. You could also read the author’s Millions essay from last week.