Growing up, Judy Bolton-Fasman watched her mother study Don Quixote, propping the book up on their kitchen counter while studying for her Master’s in Spanish literature. Her mother was a native speaker, but Cervantes was still a tough writer to figure out, especially if you were reading his work while trying to cook dinner in the background. The author looks back on her mother’s education in a Saturday Essay for The Rumpus.
Chances are you know (and chances are you wonder why you know) that 50 Shades of Grey started out as a work of Twilight fanfiction. You probably harbor some deep suspicions about the value of fanfiction as a genre. But what if I were to tell you that the prototypical work of fanfiction is… The Gospels?
Jonathan Dent offers a fascinating look at one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most challenging assignments for the Oxford English Dictionary. Apparently as a young philologist, Tolkien was tasked with tracing the etymology of “walrus” – a tricky word “of disputed origin that had all but entirely replaced the earlier English name morse since its first appearance in English in the late 1600s.”
The Social Network writer Aaron Sorkin has signed on to adapt a biopic about Steve Jobs (not to be confused with the Ashton Kutcher one) which will be based on Walter Isaacson’s biography of the same name. Meanwhile, as the news was announced, Sorkin gave a memorable commencement address at Syracuse University.
“If you want to be grateful for something today, be grateful for that: Ebola doesn’t fly,” according to a 2012 NYT op-ed. (Ok, so that’s not true, but you’re still probably safe.) If you (like me) have been obsessively re-watching that infected American patient walk into his hospital in Atlanta, I’d like to suggest you (I) first relax, and then indulge your (my) Ebolapocalypse fears elsewhere, e.g., a roundup of the 14 best pandemic novels according to Slate, 11 from io9, 22 from Bookshop, or all 1,000+ at Goodreads.