Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Monday, December 30, 2013
Friday, December 27, 2013
Every year, scores of Into the Wild fans tackle a dangerous river crossing to visit the last home of Alaska’s most famous adventure casualty. Why are so many people willing to risk injury, and even death, to pay homage to a controversial ascetic who perished so young?
From a piece in Outside...
It was Jonathan who first suggested we do a story about the McCandless seekers. The phenomenon is well-known in Alaska—a source of enduring controversy. Every summer, newspapers in Anchorage and Fairbanks publish reports about search-and-rescue episodes on the trail, which invariably prompt online catcalls from Alaskans, who tend to dismiss McCandless as a greenhorn who had no business in the northern wilderness.
Jonathan and I put the idea on our story list, and as we traveled around the state, we read Into the Wild to each other over the clatter of Muskeg’s engine. We soon felt the story’s pull. I was 20, Jonathan was 22, and McCandless’s uninhibited adventures spoke to both of us.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Mary Ellen Hannibal discusses the author's fascination with butterflies in Nautilus.
From the piece...
In the autobiography Nabokov recalls the “original event” of his “collecting life” when he made his first butterfly capture at age 7 at Vyra. His governess had tried to kill the insect by locking it up in a wardrobe overnight. In the morning, the persistent butterfly flew out and through the window. Nabokov, recalling this event five decades later, projects himself back into his 7-year-old self, and imagines the butterfly soaring far away—eventually to America.
Though not in the mountains, Vyra was surrounded by aspen groves, in a climate of harsh winters and short summers, and was home to alpine butterfly species. Nabokov pursued similar alpine butterflies throughout his life, taking trips across Europe and the U.S. with his wife Vera, and later their son Dmitri. As his biographer Brian Boyd writes, “the particular kinds of butterflies he concentrated on as a scientist were influenced by his nostalgia.”
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
The Telegraph waxes poetic.
From the piece...
This year the Christmas card celebrates its 170th birthday. Its beginnings were based on a personal malaise we increasingly acknowledge in our own lives: the concept of being “time poor”. In 1843, a man called Henry Cole found himself overwhelmed with work, and reasoned that he wasn’t alone in this predicament. But perhaps few were as busy as Cole. You may recognise his name as a founder and director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, but, as a trusted favourite of Prince Albert, he also appeared to be engaged in almost every other major arts, design and progressive educational project in London. He was practical too, helping to design everything from new teapots to universal penny postage (he was postal reformer Rowland Hill’s chief assistant). The notion of sending messages at the close of the year dates back to pagan times, but in the first years of Queen Victoria’s reign it was a custom predominantly practised by elaborate letter.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Monday, December 23, 2013
Friday, December 20, 2013
Thursday, December 19, 2013
From a piece in the Los Angeles Times...
While pundits were declaring the death of ink on paper, though, a funny thing happened: Some of the very people who helped pioneer online-only journalism and criticism began to reconsider print.
Indie-music kingmaker Pitchfork.com, which has spent 17 years publishing on the Web, just launched a quarterly print edition. The Los Angeles Review of Books, which began on Tumblr in 2011, recently celebrated the release of the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, while intellectual online journal the New Inquiry is planning a print anthology. This fall, the feminist site Jezebel, an arm of the Gawker Media empire, published "The Book of Jezebel" — an "illustrated encyclopedia of lady things" — and teen girl website Rookie published its second "Rookie Yearbook."
"There's been a lot of discussion of the transition in one direction: print to digital," says New Inquiry editor in chief Rachel Rosenfelt, 28. "But this is the first generation of people who have always been digital, moving in the other direction."
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Monday, December 16, 2013
Friday, December 13, 2013
The list, care of the Huffington Post.
From said list...
7. Much of our modern idea of Santa Claus comes from the 1823 poem 'A Visit from St Nicholas.'
More commonly known by its first line, ''Twas the night before Christmas,' this poem popularized the image of St. Nick as a jolly fat man wearing fur-trimmed red robes (long before the Coca-Cola adverts popularized this). The poem also introduced us to the names of all of Santa's reindeer. It was published anonymously, and probably written by an American professor called Clement Clarke Moore -- although this claim has been disputed by some.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Monday, December 09, 2013
Friday, December 06, 2013
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Monday, December 02, 2013
Sorry that I haven't posted as much in November. I was busy with National Novel Writing Month. You'll be happy to know I finished it. 50,000 word novel - done! (Of course, it's probably crap. But...whatever. Small victories, my friend.)