Up until 1999, Italian college students were required to write longform theses, which explains why Umberto Eco felt the need to write a guide to completing one. Eco being Eco, however, the guide went on to become a classic with many applications. At Page-Turner, Hua Hsu explains why the author’s writing manual is also a guide to life. You could also read Hillary Kelly on Eco’s Confessions of a Young Novelist.
In the nineties, when Jack Livings was teaching English in China, he was gathering material for The Dog, his short story collection that recently won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize. In an interview in the WSJ, he talks about his research process, Chinese idioms and Uighur-Han relations. You could also read Casey Walker’s syllabus for modern China. (h/t The Rumpus)
“I think you are abusing your power, and I find it hard to believe that you have thought it through thoroughly.” Norway’s largest newspaper, Aftenposten, has published a front-page letter to Mark Zuckerberg after Facebook censored an iconic image from the Vietnam war. The Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a naked nine-year-old Kim Phúc running away from a napalm attack was deleted from a post about seven images “that changed the history of warfare.”
“Robinson resists the notion of love as an easy antidote to a lifetime of suffering or solitude, suggesting that intimacy can’t intrude on loneliness without some measure of pain.” Leslie Jamison reviews Marilynne Robinson‘s latest novel, Lila, which was recently longlisted for the National Book Award.
“I’m interested in character. I’m especially interested in how language—story, memory, names, word choice—reflects and reveals character. The language of the Catholic Church—the liturgy, the prayer, the gospels—was in many ways my first poetry. ” Year in Reading alumna Alice McDermott discusses her short story, “These Short, Dark Days,” published in the latest The New Yorker.
Blue Ivy was the one who made the headlines, but she’s not the only Beyoncé Knowles story this week. Australian researcher Bryan Lessard has paid tribute to the singer by incorporating her name into the binomial nomenclature of an extremely rare horse fly. When asked why he did this, Lennard responded that the fly’s gold-colored abdomen made it “the all time diva of flies.”
“To talk to Le Guin is to encounter alternatives. At her house, the writer is present, but so is Le Guin the mother of three, the faculty wife: the woman writing fantasy in tandem with her daily life.” The New Yorker dedicates a long profile to Ursula K. Le Guin. Pair with our interview with the prolific author.