“I have learned to consume them in secret, in my own home, reading them the way you would eat a bag of M&M’s that you keep stashed behind the kale chips.” Jake Tobin Garrett for Electric Literature about the allure of self-help books. See also:“Unleashing the Essence of Self-Help Books in Three Simple Steps.”
Janet Frame’s posthumous novel In the Memorial Room is out this week, as is a new e-book edition of Jack London’s The Sea Wolf. Also out: Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems by the onetime Poet Laureate William Stafford; a new biography of Alfred, Lord Tennyson; and the latest edition of The Best American Magazine Writing.
The Atlantic interviews Erin Gruwell, a teacher whose methods for teaching her students about prejudice became the basis of a book (and subsequent movie) called The Freedom Writers. Named after a group of bus-riding civil rights activists, the students in her classes wrote lengthy journal entries — many of them relating to their own personal traumas — in order to compare them with diaries by historical figures. Writing journals, Gruwell says, helped her students learn to like schoolwork.
What would happen if you had a clock to countdown the exact number of days until you died? Our own Mark O’Connell discovers the paranoia of having the Days of Life app measure his mortality at The New Yorker. “Days of Life functions like a reductio ad absurdum of the logic of personal productivity. The pie chart becomes a special way of being afraid: an image of the self as a micro-economy of numbered days.” For a more uplifting version of O’Connell, check out his 2013 Year in Reading post.