Emily Dickinson Isn’t Who You Thought She Was

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Emily Dickinson Isn’t Who You Thought She Was

Somewhat paradoxically, the more famous a classic author is, the more likely that their identity in our popular imagination is wrong. Emily Dickinson might have the greatest delta between who she actually was and who we think she was of them all. (I will save Hemingway for another day.). Our mental model of The Belle of Amherst goes something like this: wore all black, stayed in the attic, never met an em dash she didn’t like. The reality? She wrote a ton of letters to people, baked, used exclamation points like she’s a volume texter in the group chat, and was keenly interested in the personal lives of others. That is, she was a full person and not an Emily Dickinson bobblehead. And that matters.

Amazon Restricts Reviews of Noem’s Book

This is the final stage of any book controversy: the review policing by the platform of record, Amazon. Amazon has put up reviewing limits in the past when a book’s review section becomes a place for people to settle scores, score points, and otherwise get one in while there is attention being paid to a book. The “unusual activity” trigger seems to mean both a) there is a lot of activity and b) that activity is not commensurate with the other signals we are seeing (number of reviews by people leaving reviews, book sales, and the language in those reviews). This is probably for the best, but I do wonder who exactly it is protecting. Hard to imagine someone who was on the fence about Noem or this book looking at a bunch of extreme Amazon reviews and thinking “that’s it. I was going to read this Noem book, but these reviews make her seem like a bad person.”

The Most Hyped Debut of 2024

There is no question that Kaliane Bradley’s The Ministry of Time is the most hyped debut of 2024. I myself have been subject to the hype! And with Jenna on board and reviews starting to come in, things are looking like it has a real chance to be a signficant book, at least in terms of sales. The central buzzy point is how The Ministry of Time is a mash-up of a bunch of different things and, at least according to this review, it looks like Bradley might have pulled it off: “I loved its combination of extreme whimsy, high seriousness and cool understatement — and migration-as-time-travel is a clever conceit.” We could use a hit outside of the romantasy realm.

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