Reflecting on the sales figures of Lean In and How to Win Friends and Influence People, Sarah L. Corteau wonders: could it be that self-help is America’s quintessential genre? (You could also read Alan Levinowitz on the paradox of Christian self-help books.)
Members of the Word Reference forum contemplate the etymology and meaning of the “A” in the expression, “Fuckin’ A.” Elsewhere Geoffrey Nunberg, linguist and author of Assholism: The First Sixty Years, shares his take on the ubiquitous “a-word,” which he believes originated during World War II.
“Unable to replicate the success of his first novel [The Loom of Youth],” writes Philip Quarles, “[Alec Waugh] did create a lasting impact by being credited with inventing the cocktail party when he shocked guests by serving, instead of afternoon tea, rum swizzles.”
In an interview with America Magazine, Pope Francis admits that the authors he most admires are Fyodor Dostoevsky, Johann Hölderlin, The Betrothed author Alessandro Manzoni, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. He also goes on to share an interesting anecdote about his compatriot Jorge Luis Borges: “In the end I decided to send Borges two stories written by [the secondary school] boys [I was teaching]. I knew his secretary, who had been my piano teacher. And Borges liked those stories very much. And then he set out to write the introduction to a collection of these writings.”
Is there a better way to honor Norman Mailer than by throwing a few punches? Nate Freeman was bored at the book party for J. Michael Lennon’s new biography, Norman Mailer: A Double Life, so he got into a drunken fist fight in Mailer’s apartment. We bet Mailer would approve.