Did Gollum have a vitamin D deficiency? In the Medical Journal of Australia, Joseph A. Hopkinson and Nicholas S. Hopkinson posit that the Lord of the Rings saga could’ve been prevented had the inhabitants of Middle Earth just gotten a little more sunlight. “Systematic textual analysis of The Hobbit supports our initial hypothesis that the triumph of good over evil may be assisted to some extent by the poor diet and lack of sunlight experienced by the evil characters.”
Have you ever wanted to take a road trip like Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise? You can now. Gregor Weichbrodt used Google Maps to write directions for On The Road’s famous 7,527-mile drive. Choose your companions wisely, so you don’t get stuck with dysentery in Mexico.
“Wasn’t Pogofest the type of idea barely solvent towns pay marketing consultants millions of dollars to avoid? Who was Pogofest supposed to appeal to, besides—thirty years after the fact—me? I pose the question to Janice Parks, a former city commissioner. ‘Well, look what a rat did for the wasteland of Central California,’ she says.” A bizarre, slightly surreal look at Waycross, Georgia — the self-proclaimed hometown of Pogo Possum.
“Nigeria did fracture once, however, and it is this story that Chinua Achebe, a giant of African letters, tells. His memoir of the moment describes when the country, yoked together artificially by British colonizers, split apart at a cost of more than a million lives.” The New York Times Book Review on the writer’s There Was A Country.
“Why write in an unlovable genre with an inevitably hectoring tone? Dystopia, situated in a dangerous no-man’s-land between the pulpit of the preacher and the safe sniper post of the satirist.” Future futurists, take note: the New York Review of Books reviews Chang-Rae Lee’s addition to your dystopic shelf, On Such a Full Sea, and ponders the virtues of the dystopic endeavor itself. (Bonus: Lee writes about his own 2013 Year in Reading here at The Millions.)
In today’s installment of “The Unpopular Opinion,” Malcolm Jones for The Daily Beast thinks that it’s high time that we let Rudyard Kipling out of the penalty box. Jones argues that, while Kipling may have written a lot of “jingoistic trash,” to judge him “by the standards of our time, not his, serves him poorly and obscures his true genius.”