Graduation season is upon us, and college students across the nation are listening to esteemed commencement speakers. Some get treated to the likes of Bill Watterson, Jon Stewart, or Barbara Kingsolver. (I got to listen to The Rock.) In the thrill of the moment, it feels like it hardly matters who’s at the podium. One wonders if audiences really grasp the material in these speeches right away, or if the speaker’s words only become clear later on. Inspired by David Foster Wallace’s iconic Kenyon address in 2005, our own Kevin Hartnett tried to find out.
To celebrate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death in 2016, he’s getting a makeover. Jeanette Winterson is writing a cover of The Winter’s Tale, and Anne Tyler will be revamping The Taming of the Shrew for a 21st century audience. While you wait, watch Joss Whedon’s update of Much Ado About Nothing.
“Tsundoku: the acquiring of reading materials followed by letting them pile up and subsequently never reading them.” Do you buy books and let them languish? According to Ozy, there’s a Japanese word for that. Might we encourage your tsundoku habit by encouraging you to look at this list of our favorite October releases?
If novels are written to remind us of our mistakes and we keep repeating those mistakes, why read novels at all?, asks Alberto Manguel. Richard Lea discusses authors’ views on the relationship between the novel and memory at The International Forum on the Novel.
In 2013, only 93 of 3,200 children’s books were about black characters, according to a new study. “Children of color remain outside the boundaries of imagination,” Christopher Myers writes about the absence. In a follow-up piece, his father and fellow author Walter Dean Myers examines the paralyzing effect under-representation can have on readers. “Books did not become my enemies. They were more like friends with whom I no longer felt comfortable. I stopped reading,” he writes.
“We are not trying to point fingers or prosecute. I am just trying to solve the last case of my career. There is no statute of limitation on the truth.” A retired FBI agent has launched a cold case review into identifying those who may have betrayed Anne Frank‘s hiding place to the Gestapo in 1944, reports The Guardian.
“Our Aesthetic Categories, though, argues on behalf of aesthetic experiences that aren’t quite so awe-inspiring or rare. Sitting before your computers or walking the streets of your town, you don’t encounter beautiful things as frequently as you do interesting, momentarily arresting ones—and as for the sublime, when was the last time you experienced catharsis? Instead, [Sianne] Ngai considers our ‘minor’ aesthetic experiences, the ones that make up our day.” In the era of adorkable and nerd chic, Slate looks at Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting.