Following the launch of a new £10,000 “innovative” literary prize by Goldsmiths College and the New Statesman, Chad Post takes a look at the current state of American literary awards. His opinion? “America is The Worst for trying to equate popularity with quality.”
With Halloween a week away, The New York Times asked Ayana Mathis and Francine Prose about the "most terrifying" books they've read. Their choices? Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales. Pair their combined essays with Flavorwire's list of "50 of the Scariest Short Stories" and our own Ben Dooley's brief review of House of Leaves's "existential terror".
The world isn’t exactly wanting for character studies of Captain Ahab, but Chris Power manages to come up with a novel analysis of the character in this essay about the Moby-Dick antagonist. In Power’s telling, Ahab was valuable in part for what he told us about the 20th century -- namely, he foreshadowed the dictators and despots to come. You could also read Hester Blum’s contribution to this essay about the best American novels.
In most portrayals of Cold War espionage, both Communist and capitalist spies appear wedded to their respective ideologies. Yet real spies, as the FBI knows, often have more nebulous motivations. In the Times Book Review, Ben MacIntyre reads the latest by Ha Jin, which centers on a Chinese spy embedded in suburban Virginia.
"[T]he term was first recorded in 2012, but its use increased significantly during the federal election this year, especially with the popularity of several websites set up to help voters find polling stations with sausage sizzles." Australia's word of the year is "democracy sausage," reports The Canberra Times. Other national choices, according to Mental Floss: postfaktisch, or "post-truth" in Germany, and the 52-letter-long Bundespraesidentenstichwahlwiederholungsverschiebung, or “postponement of the repeat runoff of the presidential election” in Austria.