What do you do if you’re Leo Tolstoy, 20 years old and being treated in isolation for venereal disease? Start a diary, of course. Because you’re Tolstoy, you’ll probably use this diary to make a plan of your day, and then comment on how your actual activities line up with your ideals (“not quite,” usually). And, to be as Tolstoy-ish as possible, why not rate all your actions on a general moral scale? An example: “Arose somewhat late and read, but did not have time to write. Poiret came, I fenced, and did not send him away (sloth and cowardice). Ivanov came, I spoke with him for too long (cowardice). Koloshin (Sergei) came to drink vodka, I did not escort him out (cowardice).” And so on. For some long-term perspective, pair with The Millions‘s perennially popular “Tolstoy or Dostoevsky? 8 Experts on Who’s Greater.”
Mexican poet Javier Sicilia founded the Movement for Peace With Justice and Dignity as a means of combating the horrific slew of drug-related murders plaguing his country. As he explains in this translated letter to Mexico’s government, his cause is personally motivated.
Looking up a book title on Google? The search results now include listings at your local library, reports The Digital Reader. See also our own Jacob Lambert’s entreaty, “An Open Letter to the Person Who Wiped Boogers on My Library Book.”
Johnny Depp’s latest film, Black Mass, which casts the star as Whitey Bulger, hit theaters on September 18th. At Publishers Weekly, author T. J. English argues that Where the Bodies Were Buried: Whitey Bulger and the World That Made Him is necessary to the canon of literature on Bulger, even if it’s the 16th book about the mobster.