Monday Miscellany

Vroom, Vroom, Hmmmm: Motorcycles As Literary Metaphor

Cover: Zen and Art of Motorcycle MaiantenanceConfession time: I’ve only made it half way through Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. I keep the book on my shelf because I fully intend, someday, to finish it off.

And so this report intrigued me:

In literature, motorcycles — and the people who ride them — often represent an outlaw spirit, danger and sex. For motorcyclist Allie MacKenzie, that’s a no-brainer. “Who in their right mind can pass up a bad boy on a bike?” MacKenzie rides a Harley Sportster Forty-Eight. At Bartel’s, she picks a passage from the book Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley: “I was panting, and he was cursing. It was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to me. If he would have asked me to, I would have jumped on the back of his bike and ridden to the ends of the Earth with him.”

When should a student’s writing raise red flags?

Anyone who has ever taught English or writing at just about any level has wrestled with this question.

[Julie Schumacher] took up her nonfiction pen to write an Opinionator piece for The New York Times about her own experience (in 2008) with a student who had been writing disturbing poems (about killing people) and frightening a teaching assistant and classmates. Schumacher, the TA’s supervisor, had been called upon by university administrators to intervene, and ask the question: “Do you plan to harm yourself or anyone else?”

10 Most Reclusive Literary Geniuses in History

The world’s greatest writers use their literary genius to illustrate and comment on the human condition. And yet, those who could be considered to have the best understanding of human feelings often choose to hide themselves away from the public eye. The stereotype of the reclusive author is not always true, but for these literary greats, a life of solitude had more appeal than the draws of fame and awards.

Stephen King, Donna Tartt among signers of anti-Amazon letter

And the battle rages on:

Stephen King, Nora Roberts and Donna Tartt are among the hundreds of authors who have added their names to an online letter criticizing Amazon.com for restricting access to works published by Hachette Book Group.

World Book Night Suspends Operations

After a three year effort, World Book Night officials said this morning they are suspending its operations. In a statement, executive director Carl Lennertz cited lack of outside funding as the main reason for ending the book-giving project.

World Book Night is a project that aims to get books into the hands of people who might not otherwise be inclined to read. Seeing it go down saddens me.