Read Chekhov for a More Empathetic 2014, and Other News


On the Shelf


He’s here to help. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

  • As January reaches its halfway mark and resolutions begin to waver, how is one to guarantee a year of self-betterment? By reading Chekhov.
  • The Argentine poet Juan Gelman is dead, at eighty-three.
  • What do Willy Loman and Gregor Samsa have in common? They’re both drummers.
  • Apple’s new ad for the iPad Air is full of leaden rhetoric about the glory of the humanities. Robin Williams does the voice-over, quoting himself from Dead Poets Society: “We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion.” And only with the latest and sleekest in consumer electronics can that passion find its truest expression.
  • Alaric Hunt, the recent winner of a detective-novel writing contest, penned his book in prison, where he’s serving a life sentence for murder.