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5. Haworth, Yorkshire: This year marks the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë's birth, in Yorkshire (on 21 April).Esquire has revised its own lists of books 'every man should read'. It is now books 'every person should read':
Charlotte was the eldest of the three Brontë sisters who survived into adulthood and whose novels have become classics of English literature. Visitors to the village of Haworth, where the sisters grew up, can discover more about the authors at the Brontë Parsonage Museum. www.bronte.org.uk/ (Anne Gorringe)
What can we say? We messed up. Our list of "80 Books Every Man Should Read," published several years ago, was rightfully called out for its lack of diversity in both authors and titles. So we invited eight female literary powerhouses, from Michiko Kakutani to Anna Holmes to Roxane Gay, to help us create a new list. Each participant made 10 picks. It's a new year, a new Esquire.com. We're looking forward to reading and we hope you are, too.And Camille Perri chooses:
Jane EyrePart Bildungsroman, part Gothic horror story, featuring then-radical opinions on religion, social class, and gender, Jane Eyrerevolutionized the novel. Plus, the struggle to strike a balance between love and freedom never gets old.Times Higher Education presents Joanna Williams's new book Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity: Confronting the Fear of Knowledge:
By the end of the first year, she’d decided that she hated the course. It turned out to be about “feminism, historicism, postmodernism, Marxism, structuralism and poststructuralism”. Williams and her peers were asked, for example, “to interpret Jane Eyre from a feminist perspective. ‘Oh look, he’s standing by the chimney, that’s a phallic symbol!’ It was very much on that rigid level: every man is bad, dominating, representative of the patriarchy; every long, tall object is a phallic symbol. We were pushed into thinking about these works in a particular way.” Not only did this kind of ideological analysis seem all too easy, it also left her “feeling kind of cheap”. (Matthew Reisz)The New York Times reviews When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. An extraordinary story, by the way:
When Dr. Paul Kalanithi sent his best friend an email in May 2013 revealing that he had terminal cancer, he wrote: “The good news is that I’ve already outlived two Brontës, Keats and Stephen Crane. The bad news is that I haven’t written anything.” It was a jokey way of dealing with the unthinkable but also an indication of Dr. Kalanithi’s tremendous ambition. He had led a fascinating life and was not about to leave it unchronicled. (Janet Maslin)The Hindu has a Professor Higgins moment with this article:
Nobody’s minding their Ps and Qs these days. Or their I and E, S and Z, for that matter. One feels that the Queen’s English, for long the most authoritative and conventional version of the language, is being deliberately ‘dumbed down’, giving away to slang, jargon, colloquialisms and those LOLs, gr8s, howz u and TTYLs that pepper everyday conversations, texts, and emails. Few are those who spare a thought for prose or poetry, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Bacon or Brontë. (Nita Sathyendran)The Millions interviews the writer Samantha Hunt:
TM: What do you mean by you didn’t believe them, but they still affected you? (Adam Vitcavage)You need to read the rest of the interview to make sense of all this of course.
SH: Well the first lady I went to, I went in and was very skeptical and cynical. That was in Lily Dale. She tried contacting this older women with emerald rings on, but I was like, “Oh I see how you go there: girl with red hair, Irish girl, emeralds.” So immediately I realized she was a complete con artist. But it didn’t matter, because the next person she tried she said to me, “So there’s a man here and he wanted you to know that in life he would have never walked through those gates.” My dad is dead and he’s a total skeptic, but even though I didn’t believe him I was in total shock and tears. I couldn’t stop. She asked what I wanted to say to him and so I sat there sobbing and sobbing on her couch even though I wasn’t falling for this. It didn’t matter at that point. It affected me that she was able to cut through a lot of bullshit and ask me to talk to a dead person. I was pregnant with the twins at that time, but she didn’t pick up on the two other people in the room. (laughs) So immediately after I talked to my mom and she said how the lady tried a lady first in case my mom was dead and then when I didn’t respond she tried a male. But it didn’t change anything. After the book was complete I went back and asked that medium to give me a blurb from Charlotte Brontë. And she did. (laughs)
TM: When I saw that in the press packet I thought “What the hell is this?” But now it makes sense. This is Charlotte talking to me.
Research also shows that more than 150 years since the Brontë sisters adopted the Bell brothers as their pseudonyms, because of an expectation of prejudice, women writers still face such discrimination within some sectors of the publishing industry. (Fiona O'Connor)The Daily Northwestern has another view on the same subject:
That’s not to say that there aren’t significant literary depictions of female life, “Anna Karenina,” “Wuthering Heights” and “The God of Small Things,” to name a few. The problem is not so much that there aren’t works of literary quality written about women, but that works dealing with the female psyche are not valued to the same extent as those written from a male perspective. (Nicole Kempis)Bustle on candies for Christmas and relationships... or something like it:
4. Peanut Butter HeartsThe Mystery of Irma Vep returns to the Off-Broadway; the Brontë Sisters celebrates Arthur Bell Nichols birth anniversary; Read Breathe Relax publishes a guest post by Lena Coakley, author of Worlds of Ink and Shadow and contest; Miss Jane is celebrating already Charlotte Brontë's 200th anniversary.
You and your Valentine share a deeply complex relationship, and that’s why your Valentine knows you prefer the salty yet sweet union of chocolate and peanut butter in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. You’re more Brontë than Austen, but, as you know, there’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s. (Jessica Learish)