At HTML Giant, Jimmy Chen plots famous writers on two axes: Genius to Mediocrity and Arrogance to Modesty. It may offend you (or leave you feeling satisfied) to know that Tom Wolfe is the plot’s most arrogant author.
Mexican poet Javier Sicilia founded the Movement for Peace With Justice and Dignity as a means of combating the horrific slew of drug-related murders plaguing his country. As he explains in this translated letter to Mexico’s government, his cause is personally motivated.
As a tribute to James Salter, who died on Friday at ninety, The Paris Review Daily republished his acceptance speech for their Hadada Prize, back in 2011. In the speech, Salter touches on George Plimpton, Barnes and Noble and his novel A Sport and a Pastime. You could also read our interview with the author.
“The main problem with Homeland is not even the writers taking Adderall or whatever they did in the second season that eliminated suspense and brought instead an unhinged intensity of movement that barely allowed space and time enough for the cast members to occupy their roles. The main problem with the show is a kind of elephant in the room.” Lorrie Moore explains her gripe about the celebrated series.
Don’t Cry author Mary Gaitskill reviews Gillian Flynn’s wildly successful thriller, Gone Girl, for the pages of Bookforum. What she finds is that the book isn’t really frightening because of its plot per se, but rather because its two main characters “do not resemble actual people so much as grotesquely smiling masks driven by forces of extreme artifice, and it’s exactly that extreme artificial quality that’s frightening to the point of sickening.” For what it’s worth, Edan Lepucki, Michael Bourne, Ed Park, Janet Potter, and Jennifer duBois each named Flynn’s book in their most recent Year in Reading pieces.
“[C]hildren often prefer the factual over the fantastical. And a growing body of work suggests that when it comes to storybooks, they also learn better from stories that are realistic. For example, preschool-aged children are more likely to learn new facts about animals when the animals are portrayed realistically as opposed to anthropomorphically.” Two new studies suggest that where learning is concerned, realism trumps fantasy in children’s books. Which is as good a time as any to ask our own Jacob Lambert‘s question: Are picture books leading our children astray?