Can’t wait for this year’s Morning News Tournament of Books? The staff announced their shortlist and panel of judges this morning. The shortlist includes, among other books, Redeployment by Phil Klay, which took home this year’s National Book Award, as well as our own Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven.
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.
“A must-read for: anyone who has grappled with mood disorders/And: anyone interested in the nature of creativity/And: anyone interested in insightful stories told with honesty, pathos, and wit.” On Ellen Forney’s Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michaelangelo & Me.
Emily Dickinson didn’t get out much, so why should we have to in order to read her work? Her open access manuscripts, letters, and envelope scribbles are now available online in the Emily Dickinson Archive. But now there’s controversy over who is the rightful owner of her manuscripts and who should shape the archives — Harvard or Amherst?
“Why, after all, do writers write? What is the impulse, the insistence on story, on seeing and representing the world? It has little to do with technology although everything to do with narrative, which is a purpose that, on the surface, technology also seems to share. The difference is that the writer creates narrative with intention, whereas technology merely gathers, or processes, information, leaving interpretation, analysis, up to us.” Let’s just say David L. Ulin doesn’t think Joyce would work for Google.