The true story of the Whaleship Essex – which was deftly recounted in Nathaniel Philbrick’s 2000 book In the Heart of the Sea – will soon be adapted into a 90-minute documentary for the BBC. As avid whale watchers already know, the plight of the Essex is what ultimately inspired Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick. You can get an overview of the disaster at Melville House’s blog, Moby Lives. (How appropriate!)
This interactive guide to the demise (or, rather, the rise) of the passive voice by Vijith Assar at McSweeney’s is every bit as fascinating as it is troubling. This notable piece from The Millions by Fiona Maazel should act as a nice grammatical complement.
Who’s the Jimi Hendrix of Wordstock? Though it is unlikely to become a lasting cultural landmark the caliber of Woodstock, the recent Wordstock festival in Portland was nonetheless a runaway success for its 6,000 attendees. This piece on the London Book Fair has a decidedly different tone.
Cat Marnell and Alana Massey both have new books out, and they are, in their own ways, variants on the genre of “confessional” writing. In an essay for Slate, Katy Waldman unpacks their essential appeal and their arguments, describing how each goes about the task of reinventing the concept of the memoir. You could also read our interview with Massey.