Critical Linking: June 14, 2015

They have been among the most haunting characters in the history of literature: the evil, wicked and naughty children who stayed with readers long after they put their books down.

But it appears the villainous child could be a thing of yesteryear, after a survey showed just a tiny handful of the most frightening children come from modern novels.

Are these the most evil children in children’s books? Some of these are interesting selections.


Freddie Stokes launched Books for Boys about three weeks ago. He initially intended to establish small libraries, of about 75 books each, in two or three barbershops, but the response to his initiative was so overwhelming that Stokes says he’s now able to establish libraries in at least six barbershops. The first one will open in mid-June.

“We don’t want to stop until all the barbershops in this community have libraries,” he says, with an air of reserved confidence that it will be done.

Love, love, LOVE how smart this idea is to bring books into barbershops. This entire piece is a good-feeler.




There are 7 billion people on earth and about 7000 languages, but more than half of the world’s population speaks one of just 23 languages. This infographic, created by Alberto Lucas Lopéz for the South China Morning Post, shows the relative size of speaker population for all the languages that have over 50 million speakers (based on data from Ethnologue). It shows, quite strikingly, how giant the population of Chinese speakers is, compared to any of the other languages. 

Click through to make this graphic bigger — it’s really fascinating to see the proportion of language speakers throughout the world.


A lot of people don’t like the word “moist.” Several Facebook groups are dedicated to it, one with over 3,000 likes, New Yorker readers overwhelmingly selected it as the word to eliminate from the dictionary, and Jimmy Fallon sarcastically thanked it for being the worst word in the English language. When you ask people why this might be, there is no shortage of armchair theory: that there’s something about the sounds involved, that it puts your face in a position similar to the facial expression of disgust, or that it reminds people of mold or sex.

So if you hate the word “moist,” why? I’m of the camp that dislikes all “oi” diphthong words.



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