1. MILTON MARATHON! At St. Olaf College (and yes, the name does make me think of Rose from The Golden Girls; I can’t help it), a professor led a straight-through reading of Paradise Lost. The article says, “Milton is not as boring as you think. Paradise Lost has something for everyone: Hot but innocent sex! (You thought Adam and Eve spent all their time in Eden gardening?) Descriptions of hellfire that would make The Lord of the Rings’ archfiend, Sauron, weep with envy! Epic battles, with angels hurling mountains at their demonic foes! This is edge-of-your-seat material.” And it’s very true. Milton is not as boring as you think. I mean it. Milton is my homeboy.
2. Terry Eagleton reviews a Wittgenstein biography.
3. I don’t agree with Richard Dawkins about many things, but I get his point. However, as I was digging through some RSS feeds to bring you thrilling links, I came across this one: Harry Potter fails to cast spell over Professor Richard Dawkins. From the article: “The prominent atheist is stepping down from his post at Oxford University to write a book aimed at youngsters in which he will warn them against believing in ‘anti-scientific’ fairytales.” I can’t help but picture this in my head as Richard Dawkins surrounded by crying children as he explains that Santa Claus isn’t real. In my head, it goes like this: “IT’S YOUR PARENTS!” he yells as the children wail and vow to hate science as long as they live.
4. I wish I could bring myself not to be bored nearly to death by Camille Paglia, but I’m not sure that will ever happen. In any case, she goes on and on and on about how she selected the poems for her book Break, Blow, Burn (which came out in hardcover in 2005). Whee.
5. Ever wanted to know what it’s like to be a freelance term paper writer? You’re in luck.
6. On the release of his book Why We Suck, Heather Havrilesky interviews Denis Leary. From the introduction to the interview: “Leary called from his home in New York City to talk with Salon about George Carlin’s legacy, the culture of permissive parenting and the controversy surrounding his book. Far from the violent frat boy he portrays on his show, Leary not only referred to himself as a “dyed-in-the-wool Democrat” but said that he considers himself a feminist. Still, he insisted that if no one is pissed off, that means he’s not doing his job.”
7. Misery memoirs: they sell by the millions, but could their day in the spotlight be coming to an end?
8. On the Origin of Species: The Illustrated Edition prompts an annotated slideshow.
9. The Five Most Obnoxious Literary Fads. I nodded at some of this (The Da Vinci Code hatred, for instance), but even though I know I wouldn’t be able to read one now without wanting to throw it out of the window of a moving vehicle, I really liked the Sweet Valley High books. When I was 11. (Also I’ve never read a single word of anything having to do with Harry Potter.)
10. Of Bibiophilia and Bibioclasm: hurrah for secondhand books.