5 Ways to Write in Your Books

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Welcome to Today in Books, where we report on literary headlines at the intersection of politics, culture, media, and more.

Carrie Turns 50

In case you’ve maybe gotten a little complacent about exactly how good Stephen King is at his job, try this on for size: Carrie, which turns 50 next month, was his debut novel. Here’s Margaret Atwood reflecting on its significance and impact: 

But underneath the “horror,” in King, is always the real horror: the all-too-actual poverty and neglect and hunger and abuse that exists in America today…The ultimate horror, for him as it was for Dickens, is human cruelty, and especially cruelty to children. It is this that distorts “charity,” the better side of our nature, the side that prompts us to take care of others.

And here are the folks at NPR musing on whether King’s blockbuster writing is “great literature,” which, frankly, is pretty far down the list of interesting questions one could ask about his work.

Take Note

If the thought of writing in books makes you clutch your pearls, keep it moving to the next story. For those of us who love marginalia, there’s this look at five ways to make your scribbles more useful. As a dedicated underliner and devotee of the single “!” next to a surprising passage, I’m particularly drawn to the idea of creating a handful of symbols that capture my most frequent reactions or prompts from reading. And if arguing with books is good enough for Bill Gates, might as well give that a shot, too! 

How Do You Know She is a Witch?

Am I including this piece about how two new books reveal that the definition of witches is evolving primarily so I can refer to Monty Python? Yes, yes I am. And you know what? I’m not even a little bit sorry because this morning’s google search for that scene led me to the discovery that someone from the American Psychological Association has deconstructed the (ridiculous) logic of that scene, which is just delightful. Happy Tuesday!

Is Your TBR a Mess?

Here are 7 of the best strategies for organizing it.

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