George Dobbs explores the history of some common cliches for The Airship and makes an elegant argument for being aware of overused phrasing: “The worst fiction might never go beyond widely used tropes, but the best fiction starts with an awareness of them.” We agree, and also hope never to read “It was a dark and stormy night…” again.
The third volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle was released on Tuesday. In a recent review for The Daily Beast, Ted Gioia argues that "we read [My Struggle] with horror and delight, because the protagonist—who is Karl Ove Knausgaard himself—is determined to reveal every embarrassing and shameful detail of his past life. Imagine a literary novel with grand Proustian ambitions, but combined with the ethos of those creepy Jackass-type reality shows in which contestants get a dose of renown by making fools of themselves. That’s the spirit of My Struggle." For a second opinion, be sure to check out our own review of the novel's earlier installments.
Students at the University of California Santa Barbara, Rutgers, Oberlin, and others have been requesting "trigger warning" labels on literature from The Great Gatsby to Huck Finn. In The Guardian, University College London Professor John Mullan snipes, "You might as well put a label on English literature saying: warning – bad stuff happens here."
If you find cat hair in a book you checked out of the Novorossiysk Library, don't worry. It belongs to the newest librarian. Kuzya the cat started off as a pet at the Russian library but was promoted after patronage increased due to his presence. The new library assistant even wears a bow tie.
Recommended Reading: Blake Morrison on the literature of England's flood-prone east coast.