The practice of naming children after a dead sibling was surprisingly common up until the late-nineteenth century–Salvador Dali, Ludwig Van Beethoven, and Vincent Van Gogh were each “necroynms,” or the second of their name. Jeannie Vasco’s essay for The Believer on necronyms and grief is perfect to read alongside this essay for The Millions by Chloe Benjamin on naming not humans, but novels.
"It will be as long as a book, about 65,000 words. I'm writing my story, weaving together what life is like for LGBT people in Oklahoma and my story of growing up there as well." Starting this week, Oral Roberts' grandson, Randy Roberts Potts, is publishing his memoir on Instagram. The Bible Went Down with Birdie Jean takes the form of 300 individual posts, and tells the story of Potts' rejection from his family alongside interviews with LGBT students at Oral Roberts University. Earlier this year we also considered what might make the Next Great Gay Novel.
"I'm trying to think of something really suitable to say. What do you think I should say? Look, you tell me what to say and I'll say it." That was Doris Lessing, who found out she'd won the Nobel Prize from a group of journalists who surrounded her when she was exiting a taxi. NPR has that great audio, plus other reactions of former Nobel literature laureates, including Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, and Mario Vargas Llosa. Our own fearless editor-in-chief, Lydia Kiesling, admires Lessing, but felt rather differently about reading one of her most famous works, The Golden Notebook: "Among other things, she did an uncanny job of creating a malaise that was actually infectious. It oozed right off the page and into my own spirit."