Jokes and Poets, Mad Men and Certainty

Here are two pieces on jokes, because they're on my mind: Alicia Louise Merchant's take on comedy and cancer, and a supremely touching account of a man who left some punchlines behind.

Dennis Johnson, the publisher who brought Hans Fallada back into print, answered a few questions from readers over at the Guardian. He said that he felt the pain of writing Every Man Dies Alone contributed to Fallada's death.

“Certainty is exhausting.” I only noticed this nice little essay on Hazlitt contributor Michelle Orange and her lastest book, This is Running for Your Life, just this weekend.

Here's a lovely and very subjective guide to children's poetry. I only wish I'd loved Emily Dickinson as a tyke. When I was small I liked the Roberts Frost and Burns (the latter mostly because my grandpa told me an anecdote about him farting in front of royalty), and of course Lewis Carroll. I bet I could still recite “Jabberwocky” right now, if we saw each other in the street and you wanted to hear it. And why wouldn't you?

Pretty soon you'll have heard what basically everyone on the Internet thinks about last night's Mad Men premiere (including, shortly, our own David Berry), but what about Matthew Weiner?