“That has always been the unsettling irony of the carefree aesthetic. Rhetorically, it denies the full unpredictability of black experiences in America. It is a stereotype, albeit one intended for benevolence and created, perhaps lovingly, by black people.” Doreen St. Félix writes about the roots and ramifications of the “Carefree Black Boy” phenomenon.
John McWhorter, linguist and author of What Language is (And What it Isn’t and What it Could Be), takes a look at the history of spoken and written language in an effort to understand how text messaging, IMs, and other informal forms of written language impact literacy.
“Secret societies, camorras, mafias, et al., have no place in a detective story. To be sure, the murderer in a detective novel should be given a sporting chance; but it is going too far to grant him a secret society to fall back on. No high-class, self-respecting murderer would want such odds.” -From the much-quoted 1928 essay by SS Van Dine, noted art critic and mystery writer, on the 20 rules for writing detective stories. (via Guardian)
Evidently, Alain de Botton has recovered from the unfavorable New York Times review of his latest book, The Pleasures of Sorrow and Work, for which he excoriated reviewer Caleb Crain, claiming that Crain “killed [his] book in the United States.” De Botton was just named Heathrow Airport’s first writer-in-residence. During his week tenure at a desk in Terminal 5, he will record his observations in “real time,” with his typing appearing on a screen behind him. Afterward, the entries will be collected and published as a book, A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary.
“What a miracle to find this buried treasure in the archives. To think something as good as this has been lying around there gathering dust.” An unpublished picture book by Maurice Sendak has been found, reports The Guardian; Presto and Zesto in Limboland, co-written with Sendak’s longtime collaborator Arthur Yorinks, is slated for publication next year. We revisited Where the Wild Things Are not long after the site’s founding.
“When they’re not at their day jobs, a great many of the island’s 330,000 inhabitants dabble in verse.” The New York Times attempts to understand why Iceland is chock-a-block with poets. A few years back we reviewed one of its better known practitioners (and Björk lyricist) Sjón.