“It is now, at this precise moment when I become woefully aware of the cruel transience of this seasonal offering, rarely lingering beyond the Marigold blooms of latter March, and at once I am lost amidst a magnificent vision, one in which our hallowed Saint Patrick himself is riding shotgun alongside me in this very Camry.” In which James Joyce orders a shamrock milkshake.
Curious to know what the new Most Irritating Word is? Not many people agree on the number one offender, but for a while a top choice was “literally,” which evolved so much over the past few decades that the Oxford English Dictionary revised its official definition. At Slate, Katy Waldman proposed that we give the title to “amazeballs.” Now, in The New Republic, Judith Shulevitz makes the case for “disruptive,” the scourge of the tech world.
Slate books and culture columnist Laura Miller looks at what this year’s bestseller list tells us about 2017. One of her conclusions, “2017 was the year that the very concept of a best-seller became even more dubious.” After reading her analysis, check out our Year in Reading lists, whose authors found joy in reading and viewed it as one of the few good things of this year, even if the bestsellers of the year didn’t reflect those feelings.
Sex ed for teenagers is a famously knotty subject, which explains why Pavel Astakhov, Russia’s children’s ombudsman, wants to eschew sex ed classes in favor of literature courses. “It is unacceptable to allow things that could corrupt children,” he said in a television interview. “The best sex education that exists is Russian literature.” (No word yet on what he thinks of Crime and Punishment.) (h/t The Paris Review)
Dominic Umile takes a look at the Daytripper, a comic by Brazilian brothers Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. The comic, which was selected recently for les Fauves d’Angoulême – the largest comics festival in Europe – concerns the “volley of riches and failure from the desk of an obituary writer.” As Umile notes, the art of obituary writing experienced quite a popularity surge in 2012. Times public editor Margaret Sullivan wrote about the regularity with which obituaries appeared on A1 in the paper, and the column even warranted the creation of its own dedicated Twitter account.