“Remember, Remember the Fifth of November / Gunpowder, treason, and plot.” Edward Casey of Electric Literature recalls childhood memories of the strange, lawless, primal, pagan celebration of Guy Fawkes Night–and readers around the world grow jealous.
“It is the persistent, damning mischaracterisation of Zelda as ‘insane’ that most needs undoing. The trouble lies in the diagnosis she was given in 1930: ‘schizophrenia’. While today we know it to mean severe mental illness requiring delicate and often lifelong treatment with medications, therapies, and sometimes institutionalisation, in Zelda’s time it was a catch-all label for a range of emotional difficulties.” Reexamining the life and reputation of Zelda Fitzgerald.
Seeing as yesterday was Donald Barthelme’s birthday, it’s as good a time as any to remember the short fiction icon. At Brain Pickings, Maria Popova reads Barthelme’s essay “Not-Knowing,” which you can find in the author’s collection of essays and interviews. Sample quote: “Art is not difficult because it wishes to be difficult, but because it wishes to be art.”
Did you major in social sciences or the humanities as an undergraduate? If so, it might’ve been because someone in your family had a mood disorder or a problem with substance abuse. A new survey published by Princeton University posits that “a family history of psychiatric conditions, such as autism and depression, could influence the subjects a person finds engaging.”
It’s Labor Day weekend, a perfect time relax and center yourself after a particularly boring work week. What better way than with this helpful (and hilarious) collection of stress-relieving adult-coloring-book pages of things that stress you out, including everything from Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston’s “super aggro press tour” to awkward conversations on the subway.
“Like reading, love works in roughly the same way every time, but the details of any given case are irreducibly particular, and it’s in the details that everything happens.” Lidija Haas on Elif Batuman’s debut novel, The Idiot. (You could also read our review by Virginia Marshall.)
Among Jorge Luis Borges’s observations about soccer were the following: “Soccer is popular because stupidity is popular;” soccer is “aesthetically ugly;” and “soccer is one of England’s biggest crimes.” That is to say: his distaste is well documented. But why did he feel this way? Millions contributor Shaj Mathew takes a look.
Out this week: Eat Only When You’re Hungry by Lindsay Hunter; The Locals by Jonathan Dee; Rebellion by Molly Patterson; Red Light Run by Baird Harper; Darkansas by Jarret Middleton; and Double Portrait by Brittany Perham. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.