: nine essays (by Australian fantasy author Tansy Rayner Roberts
) on the portrayal of women in the Discworld
books [more inside]
"Since 2007, Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids
has invited brave Canadians to read their childhood and teenage writing… out loud in front of an audience." This summer, CBC recorded and broadcast a 10-date tour. Episodes
The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery
is an annual weekend conference discussing food, its history, and culture. Since 1981 the papers presented at the Symposium have been collected into a conference volume called the Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery
, most of which have been made available for free in their entirety via Google Books. Each volume consists of about 25-40 papers surrounding the theme of that year's Symposium (e.g. Eggs
, or The Meal
). [more inside]
In "Walking, Researching, Remembering: W. G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn as Essay
," Patrick Madden reaches a simple conclusion but visits along the way several points of wider interest in a discussion of essays in general. [more inside]
They didn’t have a permit to rent to a foreigner, but they didn’t have a permit to rent to a Cuban, either. A German wintered in the flat upstairs, and a Chilean political-science student lived below without a problem. I was a yanqui
, so the consequences of staying there could be more grave. But Elaine was willing to risk it if I was. Especially if I was staying for more than a few months. Renting was their family’s only source of income, and they needed to save if they ever wanted to move out of Cuba.
The American Society of Magazine Editors announced its 2014 winners
at last night's annual awards presentation in New York (complete list here
). While Fast Company
won Magazine of the Year and New York Magazine
won both General Excellence and Website—and Cosmopolitan
brought home its first-ever award (Personal Service) for "Your Cosmo Guide to Contraception
"—below the fold is a selection of the winners from individual categories that are all available on the web. [more inside]
Over the course of nearly 20 centuries, millions of East Africans crossed the Indian Ocean and its several seas and adjoining bodies of water in their journey to distant lands, from Arabia and Iraq to India and Sri Lanka.
Called Kaffir, Siddi, Habshi, or Zanji, these men, women and children from Sudan in the north to Mozambique in the south Africanized the Indian Ocean world and helped shape the societies they entered and made their own.
Free or enslaved, soldiers, servants, sailors, merchants, mystics, musicians, commanders, nurses, or founders of dynasties, they contributed their cultures, talents, skills and labor to their new world, as millions of their descendants continue to do. Yet, their heroic odyssey remains little known.
The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World traces a truly unique and fascinating story of struggles and achievements across a variety of societies, cultures, religions, languages and times.
Architecture of Doom
is a Tumblr that collects images of "bleak/ gloomy/ forbidding/ desolate/ unfortunate and totalitarian architecture" from sources like Fuck Yeah Brutalism
and Failed Architecture
. The latter bills itself as a "research platform that aims to open up new perspectives on urban failure – from what it’s perceived to be, what’s actually happening and how it’s represented to the public" and offers some interesting essays and case studies – for example: Hotel Jugoslavija: Spacio-temporal Mosaics of Memorabilia
, Function Follows Form: How Berlin Turns Horror Into Beauty
, and The Poetry of Decay
This year's critical darling essay collection -- Junot Diaz's favorite read of the year (#)
, Michael Robbins's pick for best book of the year (#)
-- is White Girls
by Hilton Als. Mentions of Als are infrequent on Metafilter, so I thought I would share a Readlist collection of his stuff
(that has a bit of overlap with the book).
Five years after my great-uncle’s death, penicillin changed medicine forever. Infections that had been death sentences—from battlefield wounds, industrial accidents, childbirth—suddenly could be cured in a few days. So when I first read the story of his death, it lit up for me what life must have been like before antibiotics started saving us. --
Lately, though, I read it differently. In Joe’s story, I see what life might become if we did not have antibiotics any more.
"One of the greatest stories, true or fictional, in all literature is Gibbon’s account of the life and martyrdom of Boethius under the Ostrogoth Theodoric. Senator, poet, philosopher, man of reason, he was the last of his kind in all these categories. The story is an incomparable masterpiece of prose. From the opening sentence, "The Senator Boethius is the last of the Romans whom Cato or Tully could have acknowledged for their countryman,"
Gibbon builds a mighty organ toccata. He always seems to see ahead to every echo and resonance and inversion of rhythm, through the idyllic description of The Consolation of Philosophy
to the terrible climax — the philosopher garroted and clubbed to death in the last gloomy hours of Theodoric, followed by the swift cadence, and the coda of the martyrdom of his fellow Senator Symmachus — four crowded pages of the most solemn music. Each man speaks in his own style. Gibbon speaks with such sublimity because, sitting in his quiet study, he was totally involved in the defense of reason against the triumph of barbarism and superstition and the ruin of all bright things." [more inside]
Since the first stirrings of the Nieman Foundation’s narrative writing program nearly 20 years ago, the staff has tended a treasure trove of resource material devoted to excellence in journalistic storytelling. Much of that material went online first via the Nieman Narrative Digest and, in 2009, here at Nieman Storyboard. Storyboard 75 represents some of the most popular posts from our archive so far.
Essays, interviews, how-to’s and analyses of narrative journalism
First Nations and the Future of Canadian Citizenship (CBC Ideas) Part history lesson, part memoir, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations takes to the stage to share stories of the people he represents and his own past. In his lecture titled It Feels Like We're On the Cusp, National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo sets out why he believes First Nations peoples are on the cusp of change.
via CBC Ideas [more inside]
is writing some of the most innovative pieces about race and life in America right now.
Previously discussed here
when his essay How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America: A Remembrance
was published on Gawker and took the world by storm. He has two books out this summer, his debut novel Long Division
and an essay collection also entitled How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America
, which includes a correspondence between Laymon and four other authors, including Mychal Denzel Smith
of The Nation. Long Division has received some very positive press
although the establishment literary outlets have not (yet) weighed in, unsurprisingly. [more inside]
Lately, I've had some doubts about the level of discourse here on Metafilter. To remedy the situation, here is that great American essayist and thinker, Mr. Edgar Allan Poe, on diddling
. [more inside]
After years of silence, enigmatic programmer/musician/surrealist why the lucky stiff
is publishing to the web again (temporarily
). Five days ago he released a number of short collages
; today, his site is outputting a number of stories and essays, which are being collected in several Scribd repositories
. _why writes about a strange old Oprah show
starring guests who've removed themselves from society [parts 2 3 4 5 6]
, discussing M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening with a friend [2 3 4 5 6]
, and suffering a personal crisis after reading the complete works of Kafka [2 3 4 5 6 7]
. (One final story, "Dentist", has been uploaded to a public Dropbox account [2 3 4 5 6 7 8]
.) There's also this somewhat ominous web site
. [more inside]
A new software program grades essay answers automatically.
While not the first to do so, the program released by EdX is expected to gain more traction as it will be used to give instant feedback for the non-profit's free online courses
offered by top universities. Critics have already found ways to game the system
‘I am a phantasmagoric
maximalist. I like things to be overwhelmingly strange
and capacitous. I want what I write to live; it isn’t about
something, it is
something’— Michael Cisco
. [more inside]
The Department of Defense recently announced the creation of the Minerva Research Initiative (PDF), also known as Project Minerva, providing as much as $75 million over five years to support social science research on areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy. The initiative indicates a renewal of interest in social science findings after a prolonged period of neglect, but it also prompts concerns about the appropriate relationship between university-based research programs and the state, especially when research might become a tool of not only governance but also military violence. The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) has invited prominent scholars to speak to the questions raised by Project Minerva and to address the controversy it has sparked in academic quarters.
"A talented writer such as John Jeremiah Sullivan might, fifty years ago, have tried to explore his complicated feelings about the South, and about race and class in America, by writing fiction, following in the footsteps of Walker Percy and Eudora Welty. Instead he produced a book of essays, called Pulphead
, on the same themes; and the book was received with the kind of serious attention and critical acclaim that were once reserved for novels. But all is not as it seems. You do not have to read very far in the work of the new essayists to realize that the resurrection of the essay is in large measure a mirage
) [more inside]
Wood Central is a long lived forum
for woodworkers predating even young upstart Metafilter. Having been around for so long the forums are a source of immense knowledge of all things wood and some of that has been collected into posting archives and essays on their Articles and Reviews
page. So if you ever wanted to know
Wood Central's article page has you covered. [more inside]
-- Aliens as oppressed or oppressing groups in Avatar
, Super 8
, Attack the Block
Perched high up above the Thames in downtown London
every month this past year a different writer has spent four days living in a replica of the Roi des Belges, the boat Marlow travels up the Congo in Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness
. Each author would write a short text during their stay "which explores London, rivers, the work of Joseph Conrad, or even all three." They would be visited on the last day by a journalist from The Guardian who recorded them reading their essay, poem or short story. Among the poets, historians and novelists were Adonis, Jeanette Winterson, Teju Cole, Michael Ondaatje and Kamila Shamsie. These recordings, each prefaced by a short interview, are all available on the Guardian website, to stream or download. Below the cut there is a link to each recording, with a short description. [more inside]
I have known him profess himself a man-hater, while his cheek was glowing with compassion; and, while his looks were softened into pity, I have heard him use the language of the most unbounded ill-nature. Some affect humanity and tenderness, others boast of having such dispositions from nature; but he is the only man I ever knew who seemed ashamed of his natural benevolence.
From "The Man in Black,"
by Oliver Goldsmith
, author of She Stoops to Conquer
and The Vicar of Wakefield
Lapham's Quarterly, Winter 2013 - Intoxication
- essays and notes on drug-taking, from across eras.
The only two things missing in Bach’s music are randomness and sex.
This book review was written by Jeremy Denk, who has a blog
where you can find more good writing about music.
Robert Atwan, editor of the Best American Essays
series, chooses the top ten essays since 1950
for PW's Tipsheet
. All but three of the top essays are available to read online and linked in the article. (via
On the day he turned thirty-eight, Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
retired from public life to the tower of the Château de Montaigne
, there to spend the next ten years composing an assay
of his life's experience. That his mind might thrive, he turned the tower into a "Solitarium"
and its top floor into a sumptuous library
, lining its round walls with some 1,500 books
. Even the roof beams were made to bear his thoughts: on them he inscribed 46 quotations, here
collected and translated.
Six years ago, New Dorp High School
on Staten Island, NY, had a 40% dropout rate, and more than 80% of freshmen were reading below grade level. In spring 2013, the school expects an 80% graduation rate. What happened? New Dorp decided to teach its students how to write. [more inside]
is an ‘online compendium of 383 public-domain essays.’ [more inside]
Food writing’s shameful secret, wrote John Thorne his seminal essay, “Cuisine Mécanique”,
is its intellectual poverty. John himself is a notable exception. He is one of those rare authors who have the gift of transporting us into a world of their own creation which we are happy to occupy for a while in preference to any other. They are Virgils to our Dante, showing us around the territory and introducing us to the natives. In these magic realms, strangers speak to us immediately as old friends; arriving unexpectedly at dinner time, we find a place already set for us. [more inside]
This is powerful writing.
"This isn't an essay or simply a woe-is-we narrative about how hard it is to be a black boy in America. This is a lame attempt at remembering the contours of slow death and life in America for one black American teenager under Central Mississippi skies. I wish I could get my Yoda on right now and surmise all this shit into a clean sociopolitical pull-quote that shows supreme knowledge and absolute emotional transformation, but I don't want to lie."—A piece by Kiese Laymon, an Associate Professor of English and co-director of Africana Studies at Vassar College. [more inside]
Oh no! It's finals week and I need to finish my Civil War essay