In an effort to adjust more comfortably to the modern age, the Merriam-Webster company is revamping its iconic dictionary, the first to focus mainly on American English. At Slate, Stefan Fatsis considers the changes, which raise the question of what a modern dictionary should look like. Related: our own Bill Morris on the American Heritage Dictionary.
“I wanted to be really careful about not pretending to write The Transracial Adoptee’s Experience, because (1) there is no such thing, it’s going to be different for everyone, and (2) I feel strongly that those stories should be told by the adoptees themselves, if they choose to share them,” Year in Reading alum Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere, in conversation with Nicole Chung.
According to a recent survey, Danes are the happiest people in the world. This came as a surprise, writes Mathilde Walter Clark, to most of her fellow Scandinavians, who know very well the unhappier elements of their daily lives. The problem, she suggests, is that words like “happiness,” “ambition” and “contentment” have subtly different meanings in different languages — in other words, happiness in Denmark isn’t the same thing as happiness in America. You could also read our own Emily St. John Mandel’s review of the Danish writer Jonas T. Bengtsson’s A Fairy Tale.
“Every streetlight is a slightly different hue/of white the squares like the blank faces of robots/offer the Hondas and Toyotas idling in the lot something/like hope and yet I am thinking of all of the people on the planes/landing and taking off the twin miracles of arrival and departure/each of them singing ‘Take Me With You’ whether they know/the song or not they are all singing”. A poem written by Dean Rader on the day of Prince’s death.
Aspiring writers who’ve long dreamed of critical acclaim will no doubt be slightly miffed at Tana French’s admission that her writing “happened by accident.” As the former actress explains to The Guardian, writing In the Woods was a subconscious, almost involuntary experience: “I thought I could never write a proper book, I’d never done it before. But I thought I could write a sequence. Then I had a chapter.”
“Dibs on Darcy… You can have Wickham!“SNOOTs slander Strunk & White.New York Magazine offers an exhaustive – nigh unto Talesian – look at the marriage of Gay and Nan.For Colson Whitehead, “The Coolest Writer in America is obviously [DC Comics villain] Mr. Freeze…”…while, for luminaries at the PEN gala, it’s Mr. Doctorow.Vanity Fair on “The New Yiddishists“: “They have this idea they don’t want to be pigeonholed.” Oops.Bookslut decamps for Berlin, where she will become, presumably, Buchschlampe.For “that pleasant L.A. malaise,” see this annotated reading list.Cool old covers for sci-fi chestnuts (via The Book Bench)……and hot new covers for classics (via The Second Pass).Joseph O’Neill becomes the latest beneficiary of President Obama’s literary stimulus plan.The exclamation mark is back!!!The Esquire Fiction Contest is also back. All entries must be titled “Twenty-Ten,” “An Insurrection,” or “Never, Ever Bring This Up Again.”S.E. Hinton was literary royalty at the L.A. Times book festival.
If you received a text from an unknown number saying, “sup you comnig to this thing?”, would you respond? Michael Cera imagines the ensuing conversation in his epistolary humor piece, “My Man Jeremy,” for The New Yorker. Depending on how you feel about the actor, the piece is either endearingly awkward or annoying, but it’s very Cera — complete with anxiety and references to how he always gets mixed up with fellow “Shouts & Murmurs” contributor Jesse Eisenberg.