Fifty years after the publication of Ursula K. Le Guin‘s classic work of science fiction The Left Hand of Darkness, and less than one after the author’s death, Charlie Jane Anders writes for the Paris Review about how the book served as “a guidebook to a place I desperately wanted to visit but had never known how to reach.” Read about Le Guin’s “ambisexual world” and its warm, provocative, occasionally brutal vision of an alternative society.
“Yes, he cheated, he cracked up, he was irresponsible and even cruel in the way he marshaled his life for his art. Lowell nonetheless believed that women were his intellectual and artistic equals. He spent most of his life behaving accordingly even as he treated his wives and mistresses so terribly, in romantic terms, that it was almost operatic. That is the puzzle of Robert Lowell and women.” It’s not quite Valentine’s Day yet, but this piece on the inarguably tumultuous relationship between Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Hardwick is sure to make you feel something.
We might not get to choose between Peeta and Gale, but we can have Katniss Everdeen’s archery skills. Since The Hunger Games became popular, young girls are picking up bows and arrows more than ever before. Membership at USA Archery has doubled in the past two years, and people are buying recurve bows faster than they can make them. Perhaps they’d also enjoy the Hunger Games day camp we wrote about earlier.
“I prefer … to believe, in the weird and sometimes happy accidents that result—in this case—in kissing a beautiful stranger in the rain. It didn’t really change anything, but it wasn’t trivial. It was one of those encounters that rises up out of nowhere and sinks back into it, giving off light and energy as it goes.” Kim Addonizio’s new addition to Guernica’s “The Kiss” series is fantastic and life-affirming.
“Literature can use secrecy as a device to ensnare readers, to pull the wool over their eyes or to reveal to them things that the characters can’t see. Whether large – businessman by day, serial killer by night; or small – where a character silently yearns for an ex-lover.” Eli Goldstone compiles a list for The Guardian of 10 novels whose characters are concealing big secrets, including a few lesser-knowns like Shirley Jackson‘s We Have Always Lived in the Castle and New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani.