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.
Dr. Seuss Went to War: A Catalog of Political Cartoons by Dr. SeussThe Philadelphia Inquirer profiles Joseph O’Neill (via).A primer from Bookride for using the web to check the values of old books. “The first thing to remember is that most books are of low value or no value. Some books are worth less than nothing.”The second issue of Wag’s Revue is out, featuring an interview with T.C. Boyle.For fans of The Wire, issue four of darkmatter Journal analyzes the series with essays like “The Politics of Brisket: Jews and The Wire” and “The Subversion of Heteronormative Assumptions in HBO’s The Wire“.The Rumpus gets listy with George Pelecanos’ favorite WesternsThe Second Pass follows up on our “Most Anticipated” list with a few more books to look forward to.
“‘This is a place where people can let their Jane Austen freak flag fly.'” Last weekend, the Jane Austen Society of North America held their annual meeting in New York, attracting fans from all over the country, including Cornel West and Anna Quindlen.
Cage the Elephant is considered one of the best young indie rock acts today, but the band got its start in the burgeoning music scene in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Sometime Millions contributor Craig Fehrman wrote a Kindle Single on Cage the Elephant and its influential hometown, Home Grown: Cage the Elephant and the Making of a Modern Music Scene. You can read his past Millions essays on the history of literary Time covers, Lewis Hyde’s understanding of intellectual property, and an ethnography of readers at Borders.
Wes Anderson really likes trains, and not just any trains — the director of The Grand Budapest Hotel is a big fan of riding on Amtrak. “It’s one thing to be stuck together for the long haul to New Zealand in the upper deck of a 747 for 16 hours,” he told a writer for the company’ s blog, “but it’s an altogether different matter to hit the dining car three meals a day for two and a half days running onboard the Southwest Chief.” This may be a good time to read our own Nick Ripatrazone’s essay on writers and trains.
“There was an inefficient system in place, and what I did was subvert it by an external rotation of reluctant holly jollies. Nasally, I came to understand that light is a thing that is produced through the collision of particulates, and boy isn’t that the truth.” As part of their year-end review, McSweeney’s republished their ten most popular pieces of 2014, including the above. Its title? “Donald Barthelme Narrates the Progress of the Reindeer.”