Essay of the week: Amanda Palmer on radical empathy…

A beautifully written piece by Amanda Palmer: Playing the Hitler Card: “We live in an age of endless, foaming outrage. The only answer is to try to feel empathy for other people, no matter who they are.”

Essay of the week: Are women-only book prizes necessary?

Maybe for a century or more to come, we’ll continue to need cultural spaces in which “women’s writing” is protected and encouraged to flourish as something separate from “men’s.” But that same small part of me fears that the gated-off arena can too easily become a prison. There’s something ironic, and a little depressing, in the fact that the digital archive of a major American university now displays the poems of the boldly gender-­ambiguous, literary-drag-­wearing Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell under the festively decorated but irredeemably patronizing heading “A Celebration of Women Writers.”

via Does an Award Like the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Help or Hurt the Cause of Women Writers? – NYTimes.com; quote by Dana Stevens; Zoe Heller also answered the question.

Essay of the week: Neil Gaiman’s manifesto on reading

“I’m going to tell you that libraries are important. I’m going to suggest that reading fiction, that reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do. I’m going to make an impassioned plea for people to understand what libraries and librarians are, and to preserve both of these things.”

This was actually published in 2013, based on a lecture Gaiman gave to the Reading Agency, but it so wonderfully expresses why reading, and especially reading fiction, is absolutely critical for the future of our society and why we all need to support libraries as much as we can, that it bears reading and rereading and constant reinforcing: Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming | Books | The Guardian.

Essay of the week: The meaning of “natural”

Why ‘Natural’ Doesn’t Mean Anything Anymore – NYTimes.com, a really interesting essay by food writer Michael Pollan on the meaning of the word natural.

Books Worth Reading back in business…

I have cleaned up and reopened my book review blog: Books Worth Reading. I think it’s looking very nice. Over there, I strictly publish book reviews of mostly recent fiction, some nonfiction and a few of what I deem to be “modern classics.” My goal is to aid book discovery, and I will recommend books based on specific titles or interests when asked. There will be some cross-posting between here and there, but if you love books, go check it out.

Essay of the week: Exposure

Sally Mann’s Exposure – NYTimes.com: a beautiful essay about art, motherhood and the clash between private and public lives.

Essay of the week: Toni Morrison’s vision

This was a beautifully written profile: The Radical Vision of Toni Morrison – NYTimes.com by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah. Have you read any of Morrison’s books? I am ashamed to say that I have not, but Beloved is sitting on my shelf, waiting for me to give it my full attention.