Patrick Somerville on Being Panned and Misread, Teju Cole on Timbuktu Destruction, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today's stories:

In light of VIDA's "The Count," and author Jennifer Weiner (among others) spotlighting gender inequality within the world of leading magazine and newspaper book coverage, the Boston Phoenix focuses on literature reviewed on National Public Radio, and says the problem is "Far worse."

“No,” I said. “It does not say soggy.” “It says soggy,” she repeated. “It does say soggy.” Novelist Patrick Somerville writes of the experience of having his novel This Bright River panned by Janet Maslin, then part of the review retracted (and also, one of his novel's characters receives an actual email from a New York Times editor). (Salon)

"In the sand around their feet are large clay pots, and with effortless little kicks, like bored boys, they break the pots." Novelist Teju Cole examines the underpinnings of the recent destruction of ancient Sufi shrines in Mali's Timbuktu by al Qaeda-linked Islamist fighters. (New Inquiry)

Open Letters Monthly explains why James Agee still matters.

A new edition of Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms (out next week from Scribner) includes all forty-seven alternate endings Hemingway initially wrote. (New York Times)

Judith Thurman defends the practice of writing cursive, which is fading almost entirely from American classrooms. (New Yorker)

The smart blog Brain Pickings has a Tumblr of books mentioned on its site: Book Pickings.

In case you're in need of a certain word for a poem or a story, here are twenty-five things you may not realize have names, including "wamble," and "aglet." (BuzzFeed)

If you'd like to own Jane Austen's gold and turquoise ring, now's your chance. (Guardian)

For Friday, here's Matthew Diffee's cartoon from the recent New Yorker (the pilot should check out The Time is Now).