The world isn’t exactly wanting for character studies of Captain Ahab, but Chris Power manages to come up with a novel analysis of the character in this essay about the Moby-Dick antagonist. In Power’s telling, Ahab was valuable in part for what he told us about the 20th century — namely, he foreshadowed the dictators and despots to come. You could also read Hester Blum’s contribution to this essay about the best American novels.
In an effort to diversify the comics industry, Marvel’s latest superhero isn’t another white man in a cape but a teenage Muslim girl living in Jersey City. Kamala Khan, alias Ms. Marvel, can change shape and will fight villains and her parents’ expectations when the series debuts in February. Pair with: Matt Madden’s history of American comics in six panels.
“Let me be frank,” writes our own Edan Lepucki for the opening round of this year’s Tournament of Books. “I went into this matchup excited to read The Round House, whereas I approached The Fault in Our Stars with curiosity and trepidation.” But did she wind up pleasantly surprised? Check out the rest of her write-up to see which tearjerker moved on to the next round. (Bonus: Janet Potter on John Green’s heartbreaking novel.)