In Meg Wolitzer’s new YA novel Belzhar, a group of teenagers packed off to an idyllic boarding school learn that they have the ability to undo their most serious traumas. Their discovery is sparked by a writing assignment in a class on Sylvia Plath. At Slate, Jennifer Ray Morell connects Wolitzer’s novel to Plath’s classic The Bell Jar. Related: our own Hannah Gersen’s interview with biographer Elizabeth Winder.
John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester, was a dear friend (even protégé) of King Charles II. He was also a sharp-tongued poet who called out the same King on his bedroom behavior: "His sceptre and prick are of a length; / And she may sway the one who plays with th’other."
“The parties are pleased that they have amicably resolved this matter and look forward to working together in the future.” The estate of J.R.R. Tolkien and Warner Bros. have settled an $80 million lawsuit over the digital merchandising of products from The Lord of the Rings series, reports The New York Times. Of particular offense to Tolkein's estate: "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: Online Slot Game." Before any of that, though, there was The Story of Kullervo.
Recommended Reading: Tyler Stoddard Smith's satirical essay on the new literary movement "The Real Newism" at Hobart. "Did Virgil go to hell? No. Did Virginia Woolf go to Disney World? No, and it turns out that Orlando isn’t a place, but a dude. And did Truman Capote ever have breakfast at Tiffany’s? Yes, but the eggs Benedict was cold and the bloody marys were 'bullshit.'"
"I wanted to be able to approach the subject from many different angles, not just the one most people think of when they think of war: an infantryman with a rifle killing the enemy. What does one make of one’s moral responsibility for killing when you’re part of a crew-fired-weapon whose rounds strike miles away, when you’re not even sure if you have killed people or how many? What about when you’re a chaplain trying to influence policy, or a psychological operations soldier trying to help shape the battlefield?" Phil Klay, author of the National Book Award-winning collection Redeployment, on modes of storytelling and on the psychological difference between citizens and veterans.
After visiting more than 2,000 of America’s independent bookstores, Kate Brittain found herself thinking their demise might not be so inevitable. The cards, she writes, remain stacked against them, but they nonetheless offer a few things that may well keep them in demand. Pair with: our tribute to e-book pioneer Michael Hartt.