Recommended Reading: Teju Cole meditates on the destruction of the Baalshamin temple in Palmyra, Syria at The New Inquiry. “The destruction of a ruin is like the desecration of a body. It is a vengeance wreaked on the past in order to embitter the future.“
It’s a common saying among actors that the script does most of the work. Which raises an interesting question: is it possible for a great writer to make art out of a bad story? At The Kenyon Review’s blog, Amit Majmudar says it is, using Shakespeare as proof. Related: five experts on the Bard’s greatest plays.
In the new Granta, Adam Johnson writes about the mind-bending experience of traveling to North Korea, an experience which informed his Pulitzer-winning novel The Orphan Master’s Son. Perhaps the saddest anecdote — and there are a lot of sad anecdotes — is the one about the North Korean tour guide who couldn’t believe the author didn’t want to buy knockoff goods.
Brett Ortler, a blogger at Bark, chronicles his effort to figure out why indie publisher, BlazeVOX, wants to charge him $250 to publish his book of poems. Follow-up posts reveal, first, that BlazeVOX has rescinded the pay-to-play scheme, and, second, that it now plans to go out of business by the end of the year.