• William Jay Smith, former U.S. Poet Laureate (1968-70), died Tuesday.
• Not that the romance genre (or any genre) needs defending, nevertheless Kristan Higgins does a good job of it. In a way, she speaks for all writers, no matter what they write.
The categorical dismissal of the most-read genre in the world reveals ignorance, not intellectual superiority. This is a billion-dollar industry, and it’s not built on vapidity and cliché.
• E-reader cases that look like beautiful old books. Not a bad gift idea.
• Another lost Scott Fitzgerald manuscript has emerged, this time a fragment of a novel: “Ballet School—Chicago” was found in a box in the Princeton University library. At the rate lost manuscripts are being discovered, pretty soon they won’t make headlines anymore.
• Charles Bukowski’s rules for writing.
“Writing is like most writers think fucking is: just when they start thinking they are doing it pretty good they stop doing it altogether.”
• Read—don’t just talk—to your kids. “A new study finds children hear more unique words when adults read to them than in ordinary conversation.”
• Who would complain about books instead of toys in McDonalds happy meals? Turns out, the complainers have a point.
• John Grisham and other celebrities are recommending the Confederate emblem be removed from the Mississippi state flag.
• In the “Who’d have thought?” department, the most powerful engine for evolution in language is the innovation of teenage girls.
Why do women lead the way with language? Linguists aren’t really sure. Women may have greater social awareness, bigger social networks or even a neurobiological leg up.
• In the “Yikes!” department, this is not something we would expect from Holland. Window prostitutes, yes. Reefer cafes, yes. This, no.
• Authonomy is closing. Yawn, whatebber.
• Finally, a gallery of bookstore cats. “Gatsby the Catsby” wins Coolest Name.