Irish poet Seamus Heaney, whose funeral Monday drew hundreds of mourners, inspired U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey’s own calling—to grapple with the troubled history of the American South.
In my office on campus I keep a small sheaf of papers, 11 facsimile pages of Seamus Heaney’s poem, “North”—the title poem of his 1975 collection of the same name. In that sheaf are handwritten drafts with different variations of the title, typescript drafts with words or lines crossed out and new words and lines written in the margins in the poet’s hand. Like most people, I encountered Heaney through his published books before ever meeting him or seeing these intimate drafts in the archives.
“Books are precious,” she says.
Malala Yousafzai, the teen who was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan and has become a beacon for women’s rights, officially opened a library in Birmingham, England. After being shot, she was treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, and she considers the city her second home, she said in her opening speech. This is no ordinary library: its colossal collection has 1 million books, more than 200 public-access computers, theaters, an exhibition gallery, and music rooms. Malala says books and education are key to fighting terrorism and promoting peace.
Asks new book “The Firm.”
The world’s most influential management consulting firm, McKinsey & Co., might just be one big con. So says Duff McDonald in his new book The Firm, which offers a deep dive into the top-secret world of the über-elite organization. While McKinsey is undeniably made up of heavy hitters—it produces more Fortune 500 CEOs than any other company—its track record begs the question, are they worth the hundreds of billions struggling companies pay out annually for their advice? A few of the firm’s most infamous misses: McKinsey advised GM in a failed attempt to compete against Japanese automakers and told AT&T that the cellphone market would include 900,000 subscribers (it was off by 108 million). Oh, and Enron. The New York Times awkwardly notes that the paper itself is not just a critic, it’s also a client.
Writer Adam Gopnik learned Internet chat from his son Luke, and quickly caught on to such lingo as ‘brb’ and ‘gtg.’ But he didn’t get the hang of ‘LOL’—to disastrous effects. Read Adam’s funny and heartwarming story, originally a broadcast on the radio show ‘The Moth,’ excerpted from the new book ‘The Moth: 50 True Stories,’ out Tuesday.
The story I want to tell you is a simple story about myself and my son Luke. Some of you may have read about him over the years. I write about him often enough. And the truth is we’ve always been pretty good friends. Father and son, of course, but we’ve always shared a lot in common. We lived through Paris together, and we love football. I’ve taught him to love hockey; we even love the same hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens.But then he turned 12, and in New York City, because everything is a little accelerated, 12 is really 13.
Luke Kelly, the grandson of children’s author Roald Dahl, on his favorite young adult fictions from childhood and now. His new children’s book, with illustrator Yoko Tanaka, is ‘Blanket and Bear, a Remarkable Pair.’
The world of young adult fiction is a bridge to adult fiction and a world entirely unto itself. My taste in YA works was highly influenced by growing up with seven sisters—six of them dominatingly older than me—mixed with a dash of the swashbuckling masculinity that comes from being sent off to English boarding schools from the age of 7. Here are five of my favorites from childhood and now. Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah. This beautifully composed book by the British poet Benjamin Zephaniah follows the half Ethiopian and half Eritrean Alem through the horrors of events in a war between those two countries.
Born to the second wealthiest man in the United States, Huguette Clark disappeared for decades into her vast estates, strange obsessions, and, finally, years in the hospital. Michael Gross on a new book that details her family history—and the story of her 7,364 hospital days before she died.
Huguette Clark was 103 years old in February 2010, when a photo essay published on MSNBC.com by a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter, Bill Dedman, made her famous for the second time in an otherwise mostly unremarkable life. Searching to buy a home for his family, Dedman stumbled upon a mystery: Clark, who’d been much publicized in the 1920s as the debutante daughter of America’s second-richest man, owned sprawling estates in California and Connecticut and several huge Fifth Avenue apartments, spent small fortunes to maintain them, but didn’t occupy any of them.
Chanel mannequin, art-world vixen, Allied spy—Toto Koopman’s remarkable life gets resuscitated in a biography out this week.
Where does one start to tell the story of Toto Koopman? Should we start in Paris, in the ateliers of Coco Chanel and the studios of French Vogue, where a 19-year-old Toto preened for the grand Jazz Age couturiers? Or perhaps in Britain on the brink of another world war, where Toto flitted among three of the country’s most powerful men? Do we start in the prisons of northern Italy, among Mussolini’s anti-Fascist enemies? In the London gallery where avant-garde artists like Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud sold their scandalous works? In the green rice paddies of Java? In the lemon groves of Sicily? In the hell of a camp called Ravensbrück?Now largely forgotten, Toto Koopman was one of those see-and-be-seen It girls of the early part of the 20th century—a woman who, with her striking good looks and insouciant charm, swirled about in the eddies of European high society, befriending (and seducing) some of the most remarkable characters to shape the continent’s wartime culture and its political destiny.
Dakota Johnson will play Anastasia Steele.
It's official. Actor Charlie Hunnam will play Christian Grey in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. The news was tweeted by author E.L. James on Monday. Hunnam, a 33-year-old British actor, is best known for his role as Jackson "Jax" Teller on FX's Sons of Anarchy series. Dakota Johnson will play his college-student love interest Anastasia Steele. Universal expects to release the movie on August 1, 2014.
In the documentary ‘Salinger,’ which had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, filmmaker Shane Salerno spent a decade interviewing friends, lovers, and admirers of the reclusive author of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ to create a full-bodied portrait of a troubled soul—while revealing the titles of his upcoming works. Salerno, joined by former Salinger flame Jean Miller and others, discussed the film in a post-screening Q&A.
Salinger, the decade-in-the-making documentary on reclusive author J.D. Salinger—he of The Catcher in the Rye fame—has been buzzed about for quite some time. Just last week, news leaked that the film reveals five posthumous works by Salinger that are scheduled to be published between 2015 and 2020. And then, if things weren’t mysterious enough, the plane carrying the Salinger team crash-landed at Telluride airport (thankfully, everyone was fine).
After World War II, most European countries began to confront past atrocities and horrors—except for Spain under the rule of Franco. James McAuley on a new book that explores how the Spanish fight for how to remember or forget that period.
“The essence of a nation is that all individuals have many things in common, and also that they have forgotten many things.”For the beleaguered European states emerging from the rubble of the Second World War, there could scarcely be a more prescient description of what the nation’s “essence” would become than this, proffered by the inimitable Ernest Renan in 1882.Some 60 years later, in the “zero hour” of 1945, the nations that had gone to war in the most epic conflagration the world has yet seen had little in common save for the urgency with which they sought to forget the unspeakable horrors they had witnessed and wrought.
From Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Paul Harding’s next book, to the story of mushroom foragers who supply fungal gold to the world’s best restaurants.
Enon by Paul Harding. Returning to the town of Enon and to the Crosby family of the Pulitzer-winning ‘Tinkers.’ If adapted for the stage, this novel would make an artful, off-Broadway monologue. We return to the town of Enon and to the Crosby family, which were the subjects of Paul Harding’s debut novel Tinkers, winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. In the wake of his daughter’s tragic death, Charlie Crosby is crazy with grief. For one full year, we never leave his side.
He liked young women but didn’t want to sleep with them, he married a Gestapo informer, he wanted to play Holden Caulfield in the film. Here are 15 revelations from the juicy new oral biography of the famed author. By Andrew Romano
On Tuesday, Simon & Schuster will publish Salinger, an oral history about the reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey, and dozens of other stories and novellas. Three days later, on Sept. 6, a documentary of the same name by screenwriter Shane Salerno (Savages, Armageddon) will debut in theaters.There have been several accounts of J.D. Salinger’s life and work published over the past few decades, including titillating memoirs by his daughter, Margaret, and his former teenage paramour, Joyce Maynard.
Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus’s new novel, ‘The First Affair,’ explores illicit political relationships, why young women keep quiet, and how D.C. culture perpetuates the cycle. As told to Adrienne Vogt.
Jamie McAlister is a fictional character who, unfortunately, has many real-life examples. She is the “other woman” in a secret relationship with a politician—in this case, the most powerful man on earth, the president of the United States.We did extensive research on women and girls who found themselves in Jamie’s situation, going back to the time of Mimi Alford, the 19-year-old intern who had her virginity taken by President John F. Kennedy.
A writer so influential and popular that Hemingway adopted his name finally gets the collection he deserves. Allen Barra on the literary legacy of one of America’s finest sportswriters and short story craftsman.
ESPN has a niche website for fine sports writing named Grantland after the famous sportswriter of the 1920s, Grantland Rice. With all due respect, they named it for the wrong person. The more appropriate name would have been “Ring.”Rice is mostly remembered today for writing perhaps the most famous lead in sports history after the 1924 Notre Dame-Army game, “Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again.” Modern sportswriters who quote those lines in tones of ashen awe are missing the joke: the lines weren’t remembered by Rice’s contemporaries because they thought them memorable but because many of thought the prose stilted and funny.
Perhaps the most important battle of World War II was a giant clash of tanks between Germans and Russians, but today it is largely overlooked in the West. Andrew Roberts on a new book that makes a convincing case for how it changed the war.
The statistics relating to the Battle of Kursk—the great showdown between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia in July 1943—still have the power to astonish, even 70 years later. Almost 3 million men, a full eight thousand tanks, and nearly five thousand warplanes broke all records for both the costliest single day of aerial warfare and the largest tank battle in the history of mankind. If the Germans had broken through the Russian lines in the Kursk salient and scored a decisive victory over the Red Army, it is perfectly possible that they might have turned back the tide of war in their direction, despite their defeats at Moscow and Stalingrad in 1941 and 1942, respectively.
From a harrowing story of captivity in Somalia to the decline of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
12 Minutes of Freedom in 460 Days of CaptivityAmanda Linhout, The New York Times MagazineHer kidnapping in Somalia marked the moment when one life ended and another began.The Gangster in the HuddlePaul Solataroff with Ron Borges, Rolling StoneAaron Hernandez might have been one of the NFL’s all-time greats, but he could never escape drugs, guns and a life of violence.Russia’s Lonely LeaderEvgenia Pismennaya and Irina Reznick, BloombergAfter 14 years as president and premier, Vladimir Putin ended his 30-year marriage in June and his judo mentor died this month.
Susan Cooper’s ‘The Dark Is Rising’ series was an important link between ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Harry Potter.’ John Garth talks to the fantasy writer about her new novel.
If Susan Cooper’s name is new to U.S. readers, it’s only because her previous novels have been set in Britain—notably The Dark Is Rising Sequence, a towering landmark on the road from J.R.R. Tolkien to J.K. Rowling. In fact, she has lived most of her life in New England, where she moved in 1963 to marry an M.I.T. professor.“My imagination is rooted in Britain, and always will be,” says 78-year-old Cooper. “It’s like the fact that I’ve lived in the U.
In 2009, Asia Bibi—a Pakistani Christian and mother of five—drew a cup of water from a Muslim's well and incurred the wrath of villagers who accused her of slandering Islam. Convicted under Pakistan's blasphemy law, which is often used to punish Muslims as well as religious minorities, Asia Bibi has languished in jail as she tries to overturn her death sentence. Now, in a new book, "Blasphemy," French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet has helped Asia Bibi bring her story to the world, even as she remains trapped in a squalid jail cell. Here, Asia Bibi recounts the day her life changed forever.
I’ve almost filled my bowl when I hear what sounds like a rioting crowd. I step back from my bush, wondering what’s going on, and in the distance I see dozens of men and women striding along towards our field, waving their arms in the air. I shrug my shoulders at Josephine. She doesn’t seem to know what it’s all about either. Then I catch the cruel eyes of Musarat. Her expression is self-righteous and full of scorn. I shiver as I suddenly realize that she hasn’t let it go at all.
Paul Muldoon on the moral—and literary—authority of Seamus Heaney, who died Friday at the age of 74.
I met Seamus Heaney in 1968. I was 16 years old and he was 28, already a famous poet on the strength of Death of a Naturalist, his first groundbreaking collection. I say “groundbreaking” because, though we may trace its DNA back though Patrick Kavanagh to William Wordsworth, there was something quite new about the best of those poems. The engagement with the things of the world was so unadorned as to invite comparison with John Clare—yes, except a clearer John Clare.
One great Irish writer bids another goodbye: novelist Colum McCann says poet Seamus Heaney, who died Friday at the age of 74, was more important to the idea of Ireland than anyone else.
There are very few people in the world that can only be known by one name: Seamus brought us together in so many ways. It is difficult to know what to think, except to try to imagine what he might want us to think: that even in its passing, there is great meaning in the world. He brought a genuine joy to every small corner. His poetry, and indeed his life, has been a expedition into the deep and proper value of our own lives.He caught his country in flight, and he was able to bring it back down to earth in the most necessary way.
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