With the cold front in America right now, you would never know it’s meant to be spring. To get yourself in the season, take The Guardian’s floral poetry quiz. Sample question: “What reminds Ezra Pound of ‘petals on a wet, black bough’?”
Many feared the permanent loss of thousands of precious manuscripts and relics after insurgents razed Timbuktu’s Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research. The Institute was home to over 30,000 manuscripts dating back to the 13th century. Or was it? In a fascinating report, Rukmini Callimachi details the extraordinary efforts of the some passionate locals that wound up saving much of the collection.
I’ve recommended a couple of articles in recent weeks about the new novel by John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. Unfortunately, as Liam O’Brien explains at the Melville House blog, it may not be a good idea to read it, especially if you’re impressionable. Why? The book contains a hidden trove of Satanic messages. (h/t The Rumpus)
As part of their ongoing efforts to monopolize all kinds of waterfowl, the good folks at Penguin, headed by the editor Jonathan Bell, have dug up old covers from the company’s defunct imprint, Pelican. The Guardian set up a slideshow that lets you scroll through a selection.
Following their prosecution for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” against the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian punk group Pussy Riot has been dispatched to correctional colony IK 14. As it happens, the colony is particularly religious. Coincidence? Judith Pallot is skeptical.