The Hidden Craze Over Mein Kampf

What do Mein Kampf (written by anti-Semitic dictator Adolf Hitler) and Fifty Shades of Grey (an erotic novel that’s enraptured suburbia women book-clubs) have in common? They are selling way better as e-books. Now that the “Best of 2013” lists are finalized, several voices in the media, from the Los Angeles Times to The Guardian, have found it alarming that Mein Kampf is among the bestsellers of 2013.Ever since its release in the U.S. in 1939, the sales of Mein Kampf have steadily declined. H … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture. It’s that dismissal of children, that nostalgic lens for regarding childhood as a state free from the weight of real fears or anxieties, that bothers me.March 2nd marked the 109th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’ birth (he died in 1991); this past weekend, readers all over the country celebrated with “Read across America,” an event that honors the beloved children’ … [Read more...]

Have the Literary Arts Become Too Secularized?

Last week, Gregory Wolfe -- the founder and editor of Image and author of Beauty Will Save the World -- wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal in which he pushed back against the claims of some -- e.g., Ruth Franklin, Paul Elie -- that secularization has grown triumphant in literature in recent years. He writes: In short, the myth of secularism triumphant in the literary arts is just that—a myth. Yet making lists of counterexamples does not get at a deeper matter. It has to do with the way th … [Read more...]

Longing for Fiction

In his text Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories, C. S. Lewis writes of fairy stories that “it would be much truer to say that fairy land arouses a longing for he knows not what." It stirs and troubles him (to his life-long enrichment) with the dim sense of something beyond his reach and, far from dulling or emptying the actual world, gives it a new dimension of depth. He does not despise real woods (29) because he has read of enchanted woods: the reading makes all real woods a little enchanted. T … [Read more...]

Vonnegut's Breakfast… and so on.

In high school, my humanities class was assigned to create a work of art bearing similarity to the work of an artist we admired.  I did photography - a cop-out to say the least.  However, a classmate wrote a few chapters of a novel with a fictional plot, while also including herself autobiographically in the story as well.  The paragraphs were short and direct, but they jumped all over, addressing a plethora of topics.  Her work was intended to reflect the style of Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut was and … [Read more...]