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Required Reading Classic Gets The Graphic Novel Reboot It Deserves

The Huffington Post | Maddie Crum | July 12, 2016 | Arts
You know the story. Maybe you read it for high school English class, and misguidedly used it as the basis for your devil-may-care attitude. Maybe you read it on your own time, reconciling its dark themes with the bubbly twee-filled glee of “Amélie.” Regardless, it’s a story that firmly...

Read These 23 Books And Authors When The Injustice Is Overwhelming

The Huffington Post | Claire Fallon | July 11, 2016 | Arts
After tragedies like those the nation has grappled with in the past week ― the shooting deaths of two black men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, at the hands of police officers, followed by a deadly sniper attack on police working a peaceful protest in Dallas on Thursday...

Elie Wiesel's Profoundly Beautiful Wish For The World

OWN | Lisa Capretto | July 8, 2016 | OWN
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); “If life is not a celebration, why remember it? If life ― mine or that of my fellow man ― is not an offering to the other, what are...

Poet Aja Monet Confronts Police Brutality In Stunning Spoken Word Performance

The Huffington Post | Maddie Crum | July 7, 2016 | Arts
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); “Melissa Williams,” Aja Monet reads, “Darnisha Harris.” Her voice is strong; it marches along, but it shakes a little, although not from...

I Will Get Up, Says Writer Perumal Murugan In Poetic Comeback Statement

HuffPost India | Rituparna Chatterjee | July 6, 2016 | India
Backed by a glowing Madras High Court judgment on a petition that sought to forfeit all copies of his controversial novel 'Madhorubagan', Tamil writer Perumal Murugan on Wednesday said in a statement that he wanted to savour the moment -- seen as a major victory for creative freedom in a...

It's Time To Embrace The Singular ‘They,’ A Humanistic Pronoun

The Huffington Post | Maddie Crum | July 8, 2016 | Arts
The Telegraph published a poll last week, asking readers whether the singular they ― as in, “My friend ate a bagel. They beamed with perfect joy” ― is a correct use of grammar. The 1,000-plus voters were torn on the issue: 54 percent said...

Why Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Didn't Want To 'Perform Pregnancy'

The Huffington Post | Cavan Sieczkowski | July 6, 2016 | Parents
During a recent interview with the Financial Times for their "Lunch with the FT" series, author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie quietly confirmed the birth of her daughter, all while making a powerful statement about the public's treatment of, and expectations for, pregnant women.  The award-winning writer, whose

Why You Should Skip The 'Beach Reads' On Vacation This Summer

The Huffington Post | Erin Schumaker | July 11, 2016 | Healthy Living
Easy, breezy novels like quick-moving romances and action-packed mystery stories are a publishing staple of summer, a popular pick for vacationers in the mood for a little light reading. But you might be better off skipping the beach read this summer in favor of something a...

5 Unwritten Rules Of The Oddly Competitive Habit Of Reading Books

HuffPost India | Aashmita Nayar | July 5, 2016 | India
A few days ago, I had a shocking revelation when I got down to packing up my home of five years. As I looked around my earthly possessions-–mostly stacks of books collected over two decades-–I felt a surge of panic. How was I supposed to move all these to another...

Malayalam Journalism In My Time Was A Man's World: K.R. Meera

HuffPost India | Aashmita Nayar | July 5, 2016 | India
K.R. Meera is one of Malayalam’s most popular writers, known to readers of English for the much-acclaimed 'Hangwoman' (2014), described as a contemporary epic. In her latest novel in translation, 'The Gospel of Yudas', she looks back on the Emergency and its effect on Naxalites in Kerala. The protagonist,...

'A Modern Study Of Hair' Celebrates Women's Connections To Their Locks

The Huffington Post | Maddie Crum | July 6, 2016 | Arts
Think of a woman you love -- your partner, maybe, or your mother. Now, imagine her hair. Is it thick, rich, beautifully braid-able? Is it cropped short above her neck, setting one of the most intimate parts of her body on view?  The boundless opportunity for hairstyling makes...

The Unsolved Mystery Of A Missing Girl, Told In Touching Photos

The Huffington Post | Maddie Crum | July 6, 2016 | Arts
On March 2, 1998, Suzanne Gloria Lyall walked home from her usual bus stop, on the way to her campus dorm room. That’s the last time anybody saw her. Eighteen years later, she still hasn’t been found, in spite of the search efforts of police, her parents,...

Welcome To The Library Hiding In A Garden Hiding In New York City

The Huffington Post | Katherine Brooks | July 5, 2016 | Arts
The earliest book ever published on American insects (1797, for the record) sits in a massive library in the Bronx, and fewer people than should be are aware of its existence. And I'm talking about the library, not the book.  Stephen Sinon, head of special collections, research...

The Bottom Line: 'Problems' By Jade Sharma

The Huffington Post | Claire Fallon | July 5, 2016 | Arts
Maya, the protagonist of Jade Sharma’s debut novel Problems, has problems. A heroin problem. A self-esteem problem. A problem getting to her dead-end bookstore job on time. A problem keeping together her marriage to kind, steady, slightly alcoholic Peter. A problem staying...

Trump Praises Elie Wiesel After Using Neo-Nazi Image To Attack Hillary

The Huffington Post | Nick Visser | July 5, 2016 | Politics
Just a day after Donald Trump tweeted out a blatantly anti-Semitic image attacking Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee praised the work of author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who died on Saturday.

Browser The Cat Allowed To Stay At Texas Library

David Moye | July 1, 2016 | Weird News
A Texas town council voted on Friday not to evict a cat from the local library, reversing itself and averting a possible cat-astrophe. After being dogged by angry cat lovers, the White Settlement town council reconsidered a 2-1 decision evicting Browser the cat from the library and...

'Eat, Pray, Love' Author Elizabeth Gilbert Splits From Husband José Nunes

Carolin Lehmann | July 4, 2016 | Divorce
Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert is splitting from her husband, José Nunes, after over 12 years of companionship. Gilbert announced the news in a Facebook post on Friday, writing, "I am separating from the man whom many of you know as "Felipe" — the man whom I fell in...

Gay Talese Says His New Book Isn't Credible, Then Defends It

Jenna Amatulli | July 1, 2016 | Arts
Gay Talese didn't mean it, guys. The nonfiction writer and journalist told The Washington Post on Thursday that he is disavowing his new book The Voyeur's Motel because its "credibility is down the toilet." The book follows Colorado motel owner Gerald Foos, outlining the three decades he spent...

The 10 Oldie-But-Goodie Books Worth Re-Reading This Summer

Ann Brenoff | July 7, 2016 | Fifty
Books are like old friends who you haven't seen in a while. You always loved being in their company and still remember some of the great things they've said, but you haven't thought of visiting them in years. The lazy days of summer are a great time to...

What Does 'Kafkaesque' Mean, Anyway?

Claire Fallon | July 4, 2016 | Arts
You poor mortal fools -- you thought you already knew what "Kafkaesque" meant, didn't you? How wrong you were. A recent TED-Ed animated video by Noah Tavlin lays it all out, explaining how we cavalierly misuse the adjective and what it really means. "Beyond the word's casual use," he asks, "what makes something Kafkaesque?" (You can check out the full video below.)  Sure, you might be shouting at your computer or smartphone screen, we know what "Kafkaesque" is. Obviously, it means reminiscent of the themes and events found in the work of Franz Kafka, the Prague-born author whose famous stories (such as The Trial and The Metamorphosis) drew upon the soul-crushing bureaucratic machinery of the aging Austro-Hungarian empire. We can even get more specific, though. "Kafkaesque" describes, as the Oxford Dictionaries would put it, "oppressive or nightmarish qualities," or as Merriam-Webster suggests, "having a nightmarishly complex, bizarre, or illogical quality." Here's the rub, though: Any time an author's oeuvre becomes the basis for its own descriptor (Orwellian, Dickensian, Proustian), the meaning of that adjective depends completely on the interpretations of the original work. No matter what the dictionary says about "Kafkaesque," the true denotation has nothing to do with dictionary entries and everything to do with what literary critics have to say about Kafka himself.  Tavlin's own definition of "Kafkaesque" derives from reading The Trial, "A Hunger Artist," The Metamorphosis and other Kafka works more closely, and he draws out several trademarks of his fiction beyond the idea of a baffling, illogical bureaucracy. "It's not the absurdity of bureaucracy alone, but the irony of the characters' circular reasoning in reaction to it, that is emblematic of Kafka's writing," the video argues.  This TED-Ed video is the latest entrant in a long-running battle to define "Kafkaesque," and, in a roundabout way, define Kafka's artistic legacy. In 1991, Kafka biographer Frederick Karl offered a more limited but fairly straightforward definition to The New York Times: "What I'm against is someone going to catch a bus and finding that all the buses have stopped running and saying that's Kafkaesque," he said. "What's Kafkaesque [...] is when you enter a surreal world in which all your control patterns, all your plans, the whole way in which you have configured your own behavior, begins to fall to pieces [...] What you do is struggle against this with all of your equipment, with whatever you have. But of course you don't stand a chance. That's Kafkaesque." A 2014 Atlantic "By Heart" column with author Ben Marcus, about Kafka's "A Message From the Emperor," claims that Marcus's "discussion of the piece ultimately included a concise and brilliant argument for what constitutes the Kafkaesque, though he never used that word." Instead, Marcus made arguments about what Kafka's "quintessential qualities" were, including "affecting use of language, a setting that straddles fantasy and reality, and a sense of striving even in the face of bleakness -- hopelessly and full of hope." (If "affecting use of language" becomes one of the qualifiers for appropriately deploying "Kafkaesque," the term will be almost impractically circumscribed.) As Tavlin argues, "The term Kafkaesque has entered the vernacular to describe unnecessarily complicated and frustrating experiences, especially with bureaucracy. But does standing in a long line to fill out confusing paperwork really capture the richness of Kafka’s vision?" Probably not. What does, aside from Kafka's own brilliant and rightfully well-studied fiction? By this standard, perhaps we should only call Kafka himself Kafkaesque.  Prescriptivists who want to limit how we use terms like "Kafkaesque" are almost certainly fighting a losing battle, but there are some side benefits. For example, a quirky, thoughtful video exploring the common motifs and themes of Kafka's fiction -- that's a worthy end in itself. H/t Electric Literature CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly suggested that Kafka lived in a communist state. The post has been corrected to reflect that he lived in Prague under the Austro-Hungarian...
All posts from 07.11.2016