Planning on writing a prison scene? Worried your characters might sound a bit unrealistic? Then see if you can get your hands on the Bonne Terre dictionary. Written by inmates at a prison in Louisiana, the dictionary includes such idiosyncratic terms as “boat,” meaning a plastic bed, and “pumpkin,” meaning a new inmate.
On the persistent popularity and flexibility of Cinderella, from old folktales featuring talking gourds all the way to the upcoming Disney version, from NPR.
“When I was 16 years old, some of my brothers and sisters and cousins [were] going down to the public library trying to get public library cards, and we were told the library was for whites only, not for coloreds. To come here and receive this award this honor is too much. Thank you.” Representative John Lewis upon receiving the National Book Award for volume three of his graphic memoir March, which documents Lewis's role in the civil rights movement.
Remember that preview for Death to Smoochy, where the voice-over proclaimed, "From the twisted mind of Danny DeVito?" Me neither. But if twisty minds are your thing, you should check out this page from Gay Talese's outline for the classic "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold," written on a shirt cardboard. (Remember shirt cardboards? Yeah... Me neither.)
"No one in his or her right mind would read James’s essay in order to vouch for or against its literary quality, but I am here to do just that." Ryan Lejarde parses LeBron James's "I'm Coming Home" for The Rumpus and comes to myriad conclusions about sports, literature, and what it means to love Cleveland.
In his inaugural column for The New York Times Magazine, former New York Magazine critic Sam Anderson expands upon the idea he shared with us in his "Year in Marginalia," his riff on our big Year in Reading series. And, as a sidebar to Anderson's column, the Magazine has published a brief excerpt of John Brandon's compelling essay from The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books (perhaps you've heard that title mentioned around here lately?)