Because I Said So! author and Jeopardy all star Ken Jennings is debunking space myths all month over at Woot. In his first installment, he looks at just how much money was spent to develop NASA’s “space pen.”
Not familiar with Zora Neale Hurston or just need to brush up in preparation for her birthday? Liz Dwyer has got you covered. “Through the #MeToo movement we’ve read the stories of how calling out sexual harassment and the patriarchy has ruined women’s careers. Similarly, Hurston was shunned and derided by many of her male compatriots in the Harlem Renaissance for creating one of the first strong, black, and sexually aware female protagonists of 20th century American fiction.” Hooked yet? After you finish, read this essay by our own Jeffrey Colvin on visiting Zora’s birthplace and his sister.
A pair of big-name writers have new shorter-form ebook originals out. Stephen King’s Guns is a “pulls-no-punches essay” about gun violence in America, with all proceeds going to Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Meanwhile, Richard Russo has a new novella, Nate in Venice.
In a piece for Aeon, D. Watkins – who previously blew onto the scene with his Salon essay, “Too Poor for Pop Culture” – looks into “the two Baltimores” he has known. Tracing the city’s history back to the Civil War, he defines the city as “a place split on ideologies because it’s too south to be north and too north to be south.”
Tom Wolfe’s next book will be a “nonfiction account of the animal/human speech divide,” reports Sarah Weinman. Presumably this effort – entitled The Kingdom of Speech – will be based on the author’s “Human Beast” lecture from 2006. (A lecture he went on to explicate in a 2008 interview with SF Gate.) Hopefully the Great White Suit’s return to straight nonfiction will prove more successful than his attempt at fictionalizing Miami last year.