What happens when a grown woman wears a ton of Axe body spray? The question is nightmare fuel, but Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick — in what can only be described as a heroic act of journalism — doused herself in America’s most notorious fragrance for a week to see how it felt.
Steel your nerve, readers! Kim Liao at The Literary Hub thinks that everyone should shoot for at least 100 rejections per year. At least some of the satisfaction, she argues, lies in knowing that “in the towering waves of slush, be it high tide or low tide, my own modest submission is out there, like a tiny sailboat, bobbing afloat.”
Mark Dimunation was on the committee that selected the 88 books for the Library of Congress’s current “Books That Shaped America” exhibit. Recently he did an interview with NPR‘s Lynn Neary in which he explained how he arrived at his decisions to include such works as Goodnight Moon, The Joy Of Cooking, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
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 the Times, Dwight Garner reviews the new edition of Bartlett’s Familiar Black Quotations, a compendium of quotes from notable black writers dating from ancient times to the present. Among other figures, Thurgood Marshall, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston and Cory Booker all have quotes in the book.
After more than sixty years, Antonio di Benedetto has had his book Zama finally translated into English. The novel, which kicks off in the 1790s, depicts a Spanish administrator named Don Diego de Zama, whose viceroy dispatches him to a town in the scrublands of Paraguay. In the latest New Yorker, Benjamin Kunkel gives his take.