Recommended reading: “One of the drillers fell to his knees. Some sobbed, in the way men do when their mothers die, or when their sons are born.” An exceptional and deeply moving long-form essay in the New Yorker recounting the 69 days spent underground by the famed ’33’ Chilean miners buried in the 2010 accident at Copiapó.
Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and there’s no better way to prepare yourself than by taking a look at this list of ten fictional mothers who will have you thanking God for yours. From Emma Bovary of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary to Mrs. Lisbon of The Virgin Suicides, these mothers will remind you that it could always be worse.
W.H. Auden lived a secret life, not as a man with a second family or an illicit habit but as, weirdly enough, a genuinely kind human being. He paid for a friend’s costly operation and camped outside the apartment of a woman who suffered from night terrors until she felt safe enough to sleep on her own again. So why did the poet want to hide his good deeds? He claimed he didn’t want to be admired for basic decency.
There’s a scandal gaining traction in the UK, and it involves sending books through the mail. The country’s justice secretary, Chris Grayling, is standing by a new law that bans inmates from receiving parcels of books. According to him, the law is intended to make inmates “earn [their] privileges.” (h/t Page-Turner)
Peter Matthiessen died today, according to a statement released by his publisher: “Peter Matthiessen, award-winning author of more than thirty books, world-renowned naturalist, explorer, Buddhist teacher, and political activist, died at 5:15 PM on Saturday April 5, 2014 after an illness of some months.” Matthiessen was the author most notably of two National Book Award-winning volumes, the novel Shadow Country and in non-fiction The Snow Leopard.
Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler has a new book on shelves this week, as does William Gibson. Also out: The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber; Hiding in Plain Sight by Nuruddin Farah; a new collection of Maeve Binchy’s Irish Times columns; and a hardcover compilation of entries in the NYT’s By the book series. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.