“No one was more grimly adamant that the world was in mortal peril, or had more fun trying to save it from itself.” Over at The New Yorker‘s Page Turner blog, Alexandra Schwartz considers the life and work of Grace Paley, noting that Paley’s slim output “is a great shame, if not so surprising. Activism, like alcoholism, can distract a writer from the demands of her desk.” Also of note: this tribute to Paley that our own Garth Risk Hallberg wrote upon her death in 2007.
Michael K. Williams, best known to some as The Wire’s Omar Little or Boardwalk Empire’s Chalky White, talks publicly for the first time about his battles with addiction, and how his stint on the Baltimore crime drama coincided with some of the lowest points in his life. “I suffered from a huge identity crisis,” Williams says. “In the end, I was more comfortable with Omar’s skin than my own. That was a problem.”
Thomas Hardy was one cold dude. Read some of these excerpts from his letters and find your day ruined. Highlights include a critique of a prime minister's funeral and his excitement at the hanging of Elizabeth Martha Brown, accused of killing her husband. Here's a Millions piece on the difficulties of teaching Hardy in 21st-century Florida.
In exciting micro library news, Book Riot reports that the 50,000-th Little Free Library was "planted" on November 4th, doubling the number of Little Libraries in the U.S. a year and a half ago. We're all in agreement that big libraries are more vital than ever, though, right?
Today in things you might like to read about animals: Some birds, apparently, not only mourn their dead but even hold funeral services. And while it's widely known that the internet is made of cats, Wired dug a little deeper and tried to uncover the root of our collective feline fixation.
Recommended Reading: Daniel Marc Janes on the fictional namesakes of London’s mayor.
“Anyway, once his last season was over and NBA hadn’t called, Buck set his sights on coaching. Teaching was the best venue to get there. His wife, a pretty round faced blonde this time, was also a teacher; she taught fourth grade with my wife, Sherri. Working together had formed a friendship and it was this friendship that brought me — a manager at the Kraft Cheese plant — into this conversation with three public school teachers.” What we talk about when we talk about the Common Core.