It seems fitting that the author of the first book explicitly banned in the United States should have the nickname the “Lord of Misrule.” At Atlas Obscura, Matthew Taub recounts the story of Thomas Morton, an English businessman who had a knack for riling up Puritans. “[Morton] revived forbidden old-world customs, faced off with a Puritian militia determined to quash his pagan festivals, and wound up in exile. He eventually sued and, like any savvy rabble-rouser should, got a book deal out of the whole affair. Published in 1637, his New English Canaan mounted a harsh and heretical critique of Puritan customs and power structures that went far beyond what most New English settlers could accept. So they banned it—making it likely the first book explicitly banned in what is now the United States.”
“What matters is you, all alone at your desk at five in the morning.” We’ve come a long way from Dear Abby and Ann Landers, says Megan Marz in an essay for The Point, in which she looks at a younger generation of columnists that includes Cheryl Strayed, Heather Havrilesky, and Kristen Dombek. And speaking of advice! Have you checked out our new writing-advice counselors Swarm and Spark? No? Well then hie yourself to their column already!
An excerpt of the lost and recently found Alexandre Dumas novel The Last CavalierAn assessment of poetic cliches in VQR. The surprise: some actually improve your chance of getting published.Jennifer Gilmore interviews the criminally underrated Max Apple.That novelists’ strike not working out so well.Despite some withering condescension, Robert Gottlieb has interesting things to say about John Steinbeck.Penguin UK offers up some alternative storytelling techniques with its We Tell Stories site. The first is a tale by Charles Cumming told by messages inserted into Google Maps. (Thx, Mrs. Millions)Books cops like. (Thx, Laurie)The trend of the massive hyper-expensive book continues.Daniel Radosh points out that the New York Times has, yet again, published a trend piece on bloggers getting book deals.And finally… The Catalog of Unfit Toys: Finding Delight in the Defective
William Carlos Williams‘s birthday was this last week, and Adam Kirsch writes about the poet for New York Review of Books. Though he argues that “today it would be hard to find a reader of poetry who would not acknowledge William Carlos Williams as one of the major American modernists” Kirsch still has to face the question, “why is it, then, that almost fifty years after his death, the reputation of [Williams] still seems to be haunted by a ghost of uncertainty?”