Recommended Reading: The New Republic on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s new collection of letters and the end of the frontier. “Wilder was disillusioned by a country that no longer seemed to value the achievements of her generation.”
I’ve written before about Haruki Murakami‘s advice column, but at that point it was still a work-in-progress with few details or samples available. A month later, the submission period for questions is over and Murakami’s responses are being published. The Washington Post calls the column “surrealist and sweet,” and NPR has reported on the ongoing Mr.Murakami’s Place project as well, with an emphasis on semi-magical stories involving cats.
In a head-scratching piece of writing for the New Statesman, Dave Eggers (whose novel The Circle just cracked our Top Ten) reflects on a cross-country drive he took from Jeddah to Riyadh. The journey, and in particular a comment made by his chauffeur, caused Eggers to ponder the significance of his nationality, his ability to perceive danger, and the intentions of others. The short of it: Some people from other countries are nice. Who knew?
Matthew Salesses talks about moral fiction and how to address prejudice in writing at Electric Lit. A piece of his essay: “The writing of fiction cannot treat marginalized characters as vessels, cannot let the plot play out the racism of under-enlightened protagonists. Perhaps the ultimate conclusion is that one cannot write without prejudice unless one understands that one has prejudice.” Pair with his recent essay at The Millions on plot and the inciting incident.
In 2002, David Friedman thought of a question he wanted to ask Oliver Sacks, on the topic of 3D glasses and “pseudoscopic” vision. A week after he sent the letter, he received a typewritten reply, complete with diagrams. At The Morning News, a copy of the letter he received, along with background.
During the riots in Baltimore following Freddie Gray’s death, the city’s chief librarian insisted her neighborhood branch remain open. Yesterday that librarian, Dr. Carla D. Hayden, was sworn in as the 14th librarian of Congress, the first woman and African-American to hold the position. We wonder what Dr. Hayden might make of our own Jacob Lambert‘s “Open Letter to the Person Who Wiped Boogers on My Library Book.”
Interested in seeing unsettling characters — preferably with moustaches — looking for meaning in wacky postmodernist settings? Well, o ye of of bizarre inclinations, you’re in luck: Thomas Pynchon is rumored to be working with Paul Thomas Anderson. (He’s also coming out with a new book.)