If you’ve ever been asked to write a thank-you note, you know that, paradoxically, it can be one of the hardest forms of writing to do well. In light of that, The Morning News has kindly republished their classic guide to writing thank-you notes, written by Leslie Harpold. Sample quote: “If you want to know when you get a genuine pass on writing a note, the litmus test is simple: Do I live under the same roof as the giver?”
“Heidi Maier, the new superintendent of the 42,000-student Marion County public school district in Florida, said in an interview that she made the decision based on solid research about what works best in improving academic achievement in students.” In place of traditional homework, 20,000 elementary school students will spend 20 minutes reading a book of their choice each night, reports The Washington Post. Pair with T.K. Dalton on books, kids, and gender.
Though no big name today, early 20th-century poet Florence Ripley Mastin published prolifically in her lifetime – a dozen times in Poetry, more than 90 in the New York Times. Poetry’s Ruth Graham argues that the successes of Mastin, an untrained amateur, say more about her times than her talent. These days, amateur poets today benefit from refrigerator poetry sets, numerous poetry apps and sites, and the infinite community of the internet, but the Times has long excised poetry from its pages. In the archives, Patrick Wensink meets and analyzes those who doggedly pursue poetry these faded days.
Good news! According to Vinson Cunningham’s new essay in The New Yorker, beauty merely “masks and perfumes … it freezes moral categories in place,” whereas ugliness, on the other hand, “is sometimes the closest thing to the truth.” Wait, is that good news? Bonus: Vinson wrote a Year in Reading piece for us.
New this week: The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant; Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz; a limited edition of The David Foster Wallace Reader; and The Poem She Didn’t Write and Other Poems by Olena Kalytiak Davis (which I wrote about last week). For more on these and other recent titles, go read our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.