We’d been planning to brush up on our French, Swahili, and Klingon this summer, but a new contender might just grab us away. You can now learn to speak Dothraki – a fictional tongue from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series and the hit TV show Game of Thrones – with this $18 software course. Next: High Valyrian?
Recommended listening: 19 Rare Recordings of Famous Authors Reading, as compiled by Mental Floss, including the likes of Virginia Woolf, Walt Whitman, Ernest Hemingway and Flannery O’Connor. For a different perspective on the word “rare” as applied to digital culture, be sure to read Rex Sorgatz‘s recent piece for Medium, “You Need to Hear this Extremely Rare Recording.”
Most writers, unless they’re lucky enough to have an ideal place in which to work, make do with the best space available. For Colum McCann’s father, the shed in his backyard, which “always smelled damp inside, as if the rain rose up out of the carpet,” sufficed for the fiction he wrote after coming home from work. At Page-Turner, the National Book Award winner and Year in Reading alum remembers his father’s retreat.
What happens when a literary fiction writer tackles YA? If that writer is Sherman Alexie, he produces an award-winning book that rivals the quality of his books in other genres. At the Ploughshares blog, Annie Cardi writes about writers who’ve made this transition, including Alexie, Roddy Doyle and Louise Erdrich. You could also read our survey of high school students on the best YA books of 2013.
What can you find at a gun show: firearms, NRA-lovers, and chapbooks? Patrick Wensink discovers the literary subculture of gun enthusiasts. Best chapbook titles: “Homebrew TNT,” “Beat the Box: The Insider’s Guide to Beating the Lie Detector” and “Emergency War Surgery.”