What if I were to tell you that only half of you is actually you? A new book by Ed Yong takes a look at the human body and the microbial stowaways that make up most of us: “Reader, as you read these words, trillions of microbes and quadrillions of viruses are multiplying on your face, your hands and down there in the darkness of your gut. With every breath you take, with every move you make, you are sending bacteria into the air at the rate of about 37 million per hour — your invisible aura, your personal microbial cloud. With every gram of food you eat, you swallow about a million microbes more.”
You’ve probably taken one of those quizzes that lets you find out the nature of your spirit animal. If so, you’ll enjoy this novel take on the form, which lets you see which animal from a famous poem you are. (For the record, this writer got Marianne Moore’s immortal fish.)
“Now I get paid to do something I have loved since I was 4 years old. Other than my family, is there anything else I have loved so unconditionally, for so long?” Georgia Cloepfil in N+1 on the uncompromising, compromised life of the professional female athlete. See also: some thoughts about hosting the World Cup.
Can’t get enough Murakami? In the lead-up to the announcement of this year’s Nobel Prize for literature, Dan over at “How to Japonese” will post a short, new Murakami translation each week. The translations come from an unpublished (in English) collection of Murakami’s answers to his readers’ questions. This week, Murakami tackles safe sex.
“[S]he and her sister should not be affected by the riot. Riots like this were what she read about in newspapers. Riots like this were what happened to other people.” The Guardian runs ‘A Private Experience,’ a short story from Year-in-Reading alum Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
“The notebook is where our interior world makes contact with our exterior world; where our instinct for creation is first made material. Our notebooks are our first messy attempts at self-expression, and the ways in which we express ourselves are changing every day.” Sarah Gerard explores the life of the notebook in an essay for Hazlitt. Pair with our own Hannah Gersen‘s look at other methods writers use to keep their ideas straight, from calendars to collages.
“What made The Great Gatsby so great? Does everyone think he’s that great? Why?” Just in time for the back-to-school rush: essay questions from a teacher who didn’t finish any of the required reading (a.k.a. McSweeney’s).