Good news! According to Vinson Cunningham’s new essay in The New Yorker, beauty merely “masks and perfumes … it freezes moral categories in place,” whereas ugliness, on the other hand, “is sometimes the closest thing to the truth.” Wait, is that good news? Bonus: Vinson wrote a Year in Reading piece for us.
"They might underline a page number, draw a little star on the last page, or write their first initial somewhere in the book." A librarian in Scotland discovered a secret code used by elderly patrons to track which books they already read. From our archives: an essay on the importance of libraries and how they can stay relevant.
Right on the edge of Banned Books Week, Rainbow Rowell discusses when Minneapolis's Anoka-Hennepin school district, the county board, and the local library board censored her from coming to speak about her YA novel Eleanor & Park. "When these people call Eleanor & Park an obscene story, I feel like they’re saying that rising above your situation isn’t possible," she says.
Buzzfeed kicked up a storm on Thursday when its first-ever Buzzfeed Books editor, Isaac Fitzgerald, told Poynter that the site’s new vertical won’t publish negative reviews. Invoking the “Bambi rule," Fitzgerald argued that he sees no point “[wasting] breath talking smack about something.” At The Atlantic Wire, Eric Levenson published a counterpoint, while Alexanda Petri poked fun at Fitzgerald in the WaPo.
The “good bad guy” has been having his moment on television. From Don Draper to Tony Soprano, America loves the anti-hero. Here’s a look at some literary anti-heroes from over at Ploughshares. You are likely to either agree with or be enraged by this essay from The Millions on likeability in fiction.
We know the internet's been full of buzz following the announcement of Chipotle's new burrito lit, but the Los Angeles Review of Books' "Review of Cups" by Maria Bustillos has us laughing. After all, there's nothing like a timely and slightly irreverent review to legitimize a new genre. And for more fun with reviews, be sure to check out The Millions' own "Worst Book Review Ever."