Critical Linking: October 18, 2014

A Swiss publisher was searching for chapters of Truman Capote’s unfinished final novel last summer when he stumbled upon a different find. While poring over Capote’s writings and papers at the New York Public Library, the publisher, Peter Haag, discovered a collection of previously unpublished short stories and poems from Capote’s youth.

New Capote short stories are coming!


So here’s a directive, to anyone who feels like the type of book – or any individual book – is being unfairly attacked: please stop making a case for what you like by putting down what other people like. Stop imagining that the conversation you hear is the only conversation being had. And if you feel like your beloved book is under attack, hit the attacker back with as much positivity as you can manage. I’ll stand by Harry Potter not because it can be read by a child, but because it can be read by children and adults alike, how it’s a bazillion pages full of little spaces or big ideas to explore, how I fell in love first with the characters on the page, then with the sprawling conversation they inspired. I won’t put you down if you don’t enjoy them – I’ll just invite you to join in.

A slam dunk response to all of the criticism of YA fiction in the media and more, a slam dunk piece on reading whatever the hell you want because it means something to you and that’s good enough.


Despite all of his efforts, Webster’s dictionary sold just 2,500 copies on its publication and he was compelled to mortgage his home in New Haven to fund a second edition in 1840. Three years later, having never quite gained the recognition his work deserved in his lifetime, he died at the age of 84. Today however, as both a literary and scholarly achievement Webster’s 1828 dictionary is widely regarded as both the first truly comprehensive dictionary of American English, and as one of the most important dictionaries in the history of our language. So to mark World Dictionary Day – and to celebrate what would be Webster’s 256th birthday – here are 26 of some of the most curious, most surprising and most obscure words from Webster’s Dictionary in one handy A to Z.

Can we bring back hugger-mugger or maffle into our regular vocabulary?


With the film adaptation of the popular children’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day hitting theaters, we got to thinking: what other children’s books would make great movies? Here’s a selection of titles that we think would be cinematic successes.

A film version of Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs? I’m game.


Perched on a log in the Rare Books department of the Philadelphia Free Library stands a strange piece of history. Dead since 1841, but preserved with arsenic, and frozen inside a shadow box, this bird’s legacy is longer than most people’s. His name is Grip. Grip the Clever, Grip the Wicked, Grip the Knowing.

This is neat: the bird that inspired Charles Dickens and Edgar Allan Poe lives in the Philadelphia Free Library. Well…lives might be a stretch.

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