Recommended Listening: Andrew Solomon’s Moth story, “My Post-Nuclear Family.” (Solomon’s work has previously been shouted out in our Year in Reading series by Millions staffers Hannah Gersen and Edan Lepucki.)
Jonathan Dent offers a fascinating look at one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most challenging assignments for the Oxford English Dictionary. Apparently as a young philologist, Tolkien was tasked with tracing the etymology of “walrus” – a tricky word “of disputed origin that had all but entirely replaced the earlier English name morse since its first appearance in English in the late 1600s.”
“[Ludmilla] Petrushevskaya doesn't write about isolated acts of depravity; she writes about universal ones,” says Michael Robbins in his review of There Once Lived a Girl. “What's scary about her narratives is their implication that only the thinnest film, which might rip at any time, separates us from the chaos and breakdown they describe.” Our own Janet Potter also reviewed Petrushevskaya’s work this week, and she focused on the romantic hopes of its characters. "What’s remarkable," Potter writes, "is not the love they find, but the fact that they’re looking for it."
Leave the marshmallows at home, and bring your bow and arrow to summer camp instead. In Largo, Florida, the Country Day School created a camp based on The Hunger Games, where campers play intense games of capture the flag. Don't worry, killing your fellow campers isn't allowed.