For two thousand years, the Dead Sea Scrolls lay hidden. They were discovered in 1947 in the West Bank and became incredibly important artifacts for archaeologists and scholars as some of the oldest biblical texts ever discovered. Over the next several decades the various Scrolls were sold and scattered between various collectors and museums. One such museum, the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., proudly displayed sixteen fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, until this past March, when National Geographic reported that a team of researchers had found that all of the museum’s fragments were fakes. This conclusion has important ramifications not only for the museum, but also for researchers studying the Scrolls, and for the history of Judaism and Christianity.
They were trying the traffic-light system again this year. The plan was to expedite the selection process; make it easier to get a hundred-and-fifty college kids to Japan. The folders were laid out across three plastic tables they’d carried up from the cafeteria. The YES folders were green and occupied three stacks. The NO folders were red. There were too many of them for proper piles, so they were simply dumped, en masse, in bins. Maybe she was right, he thought, and they should have just kept it digital, not bothered printing it all out. The process hadn’t really worked last year either and that year they had only needed a hundred interns. This year they would have one-fifty. Maybe one-fifty-five even.
You die on a bright and sunny Tuesday near the start of November. The crisp autumn air has a sweet taste to it, and
it rattles out in warm puffs until you breathe no more. (It looks like you’re really trying, but air is for the living,
after all, and ghosts have no lungs with which to pull it in.)
And then you’re getting up, looking at the body that’s turning pale and waxy at your feet, and you must be wondering: what now? Everyone wonders what now before long. Fortunately for you, you’ve been murdered (imagine that– fortunately! Oh, I do crack me up) and so you have a natural first step: figure out whodunit, and then find a way to communicate that to those of us with bodies and larynxes.
Sarah Bigham begins her impressive collection, Kind Chemist Wife: Musings at 3 a.m, with the poem “Gettysburg” — an excavation of memory as much as it is an examination of it. The poem closes with the lines “Beauty / or not?” — a fitting description of the collection as a whole: equal parts witty and wise, breezy and poignant. It’s a collection that focuses not only on life’s snapshot, shiny moments but on the kind of invasive memories that plague us in the early morning hours.
Over the last couple of decades, the term “YA fiction” (or young adult fiction) has been increasingly used in literature and is now a major category in publishing – but what is it exactly? What age group is it targeting? Who are its main readers? How is it different from regular “adult” fiction? Its definition is imprecise, and it depends on who you ask.