Best beloveds, we've all had quite a week. Sit down and relax with some book links, why don't you?
Here's the best the web had to offer for the week of April 18.
- It was Charlotte Brontë's 200th birthday this week! Our celebration piece is still to come, but in the meantime, LitHub has some extensive coverage. Particularly recommended: Rachel Vorona Cote on Villette, and Bridget Read on Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea.
- In other Brontë news, the Guardian went in deep on Virginia Woolf’s classic essay on Jane Eyre.
- Also at LitHub is Nora Zelevansky on how to write about teenage girls.
I know most people despise teenagers, and perhaps I'll learn to feel that way too once my own daughter is possessed by that demonic set of hormones, but I've always really liked them. They're creative and interesting, and their impulses—however unchecked—make sense to me. Why not spend all day obsessing over a crush while eating junk food and sampling the occasional illicit drug? Isn't that what we'd all be doing if we didn't have society to keep us in line?
- This week was also the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. We talked about why Shakespeare definitely wrote Shakespeare here at Vox, and Signature asked 25 writers, including Margaret Atwood, for their thoughts on the Bard.
- Plus, the New York Times has a quiz where you can test your Shakespeare knowledge.
- It was also film director and occasional author John Waters's birthday! He gave BookRiot a list of his favorite books.
- BuzzFeed Reader has an excerpt from Manuel Gonzales's new novel, The Regional Office Is Under Attack!, with the most entertainingly petty bloodbath you'll come across this weekend.
Stacy suggested we play a game, to pass the time better. The rest of us ignored her or made faces behind her back. We considered the idea of escape again, and with nothing better to do, no recourse, no email or internet or smartphones to pass the time with, with only each other and nothing much in common — how many more times would we have to listen to Carl go on about the square-dancing class he'd started taking in Bushwick, really? — even those of us who had been against planning an escape were on board now, and with the earnest resolve of the truly desperate.
- Julianne Ross on Elena Ferrante's pen name is lovely.
Still, we don’t know exactly how autobiographical the Neapolitan novels, or any of Ferrante's writings, really are. We don't know what's drawn from truth and what's plucked from imagination. We only get the words on the page; we don't get the woman behind them. You could, in theory, argue that this denial is unfair, because autobiography shapes how we interpret art. Then again, knowing the details of Ferrante's life likely wouldn't blunt the emotional honesty of the story she’s written. Attempts to uncover who she is feel less like an appreciation of her work than a bow to the need to gratify our passing curiosities.
- Broadly has more on publishing's diversity problem.
"I woke up one morning, and I was 'diverse,'" says Michael Mejias, a playwright, former agent, and director of the internship program at the Writers House literary agency. He's Puerto Rican and grew up in New York City, the epicenter of a publishing world in which many say this not-so-new buzzword, "diversity," is being redefined as something it's not. Mejias says that we "haven't arrived at language that makes white people comfortable," which is perhaps why this word is sticking around. Yet there is no such thing as a single diverse person, no matter their race, gender, ethnicity, ability, age, sexuality, or other identifiers. Diversity means variety.