If you’re a professor or mentor, it’s the time of year you should expect to be hit up for recommendation letters. You can find inspiration in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s recommendation letter for Walt Whitman, when the latter was seeking government employment despite his controversial poetry. “He is known to me as a man of strong original genius, combining, with marked eccentricities, great powers & valuable traits of character: a self-relying large-hearted man, much beloved by his friends.” Even if the government didn’t like Whitman’s work, we do; read our own Michael Bourne’s essay on the power of Whitman’s poetry.
While millions of teenage girls and grown women (see the Twilight Moms blog if you don't believe me) wait with bated breath for the November 20th premier of New Moon (see the preview here), the film version of the second installment of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, some less satisfied readers are making movies of their own--movies in which they beat, burn, and otherwise insult copies of Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. See Burn, Twilight, Burn!, Twilight Burning, with Techno, The Twilight Chainsaw Massacre, Twilight Baseball. And that's only for starters. I also like this one, Twilight Burning Party, in which two spunky Ghost World-y young ladies, Cassi and Angel, do a little stand-up literary critique before burning the book.
"Why should Serena not respond to racism? In whose world should it be answered with good manners? The notable difference between black excellence and white excellence is white excellence is achieved without having to battle racism. Imagine." Claudia Rankine writes for The New York Times Magazine about tennis player Serena Williams, racism in sports, and white privilege. Pair with our own Michael Bourne’s list of books that “shed light on the history and evolution of racism in America.”
J. M. Coetzee has published The Good Story: Exchanges on Truth, Fiction and Psychotherapy with psychologist Arabella Kurtz, which details the five-year correspondence between the two. The letters offer “a rare opportunity to understand the mind of a writer who almost never speaks at length in his own voice.” For more of the Nobel laureate, read our review of The Childhood of Jesus.