— John Cheever on trial at Sing Sing. I swear, this writer shows me more and more ways to open me up.
— Salvador Dalí's rare and beautiful illustrations of Montaigne’s essays. Published 1947.
— Science Fiction and Prophecy: Arthur C. Clarke interviewed in the Los Angeles Review of Books.
— "Vassar, Unzipped." In Vanity Fair, Laura Jacobs writes brilliantly about Mary McCarthy's The Group, fifty years after its publication. The Group is one of the strangest and most fascinating novels I've ever read. I actually wanted to write an essay hooked to its fiftieth birthday, but then I read this piece by Jacobs, and thought, welp, she's done just about exactly what I would've hoped to have done.
— Speaking of literary birthdays: The New Yorker takes a look at "Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, at Twenty."
— Here's what Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster thought of Jane Austen's fiction.
— On witches, Paris, and the bewitching: Toby Barlow and Rosecrans Baldwin talk it up.
— Teju Cole hangs out with Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka at his home in Abeokuta, Nigeria.
— NPR on how Scholastic came to pitch literacy (and bookish joy, as my memory holds it) to generations of children.
— I adore the poetry of Maurice Manning, its mix of magic and voice and nature. His interview with the Poetry Foundation is worth your time. Worth it!
— "All students—and I mean all—ought to think seriously about majoring in English." Mark Edmundson writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
— Novelist Nadeem Aslam learned English by copying out Moby-Dick.
— Two translators talk over at Bookslut about, among other things, pet peeves.
–On the rise of beer-drinking, and its discontents, in Africa. (For the record, I dug the ubiquitous Tuskers, as well as the porter at Brew Bistro in Nairobi.)
— The "best books on Kenya," according to The Guardian.
— Watching Like a Girl: I can relate to a great deal of what Stacey Mae Fowles writes about being both a sports fan and female.
— SBNation on the "death of a ballplayer" — Billy Dillon, the woulda-been Detroit Tiger who instead spent 27 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit.
— Underwritten or undercut? The Columbia Journalism Review on how to solve our foreign coverage problem. (Spoiler: Non-profit funding isn't it.)
— In Harper's: Rebecca Solnit talks about "how personal stories can fail to satisfy, the
architectural space of the book, and the pleasures with which the
landscapes of our lives are salted."
— Ariel Levy in The New Yorker on what amounts to 13 ways of looking at justice in Steubenville.
— Bill Moyers and Marshall Ganz talking about making social movements matter.
— This is what happens when you buy a 91-acre island in the Great Lakes, and give it over to artists and writers. (h/t Chris M.)
— Beyond the Moomins: A look at Tove Jansson's gorgeous writing for adults, ahead of the Jansson centenary that looms in 2014.
— Rachel Kushner, interviewed, over at The Rumpus.
— The always-provoking Tim Parks on Thomas Hardy, Anton Chekhov, and writing to death.
— Words Without Borders is featuring literary Brazil this month.
— Nina Sabolik makes a case for why Ismail Kadare should win the next Nobel Prize in literature.
Image credit: The New Yorker