“I have come to realize how much I have, throughout my life, bought into the narrative of this alluring myth of personal responsibility and excellence. I realize how much I believe that all good things will come if I—if we—just work hard enough.” Year in Reading alum Roxane Gay writes for VQR Online about “The Price of Black Ambition.” Pair with our review of An Untamed State.
Details are just now starting to trickle out about a new Don DeLillo book out early next year. In Point Omega, DeLillo “takes on the secret strategist in America’s war machine,” according to publisher Scribner.
Over at The Believer, Amy Benfer pens a paean to the serial novels of her youth. “They are the training bras of literature; books that teach young girls how to be older girls before they get there,” Benfer writes.
In the late 1860s, James Crichton-Browne, director of the West Riding Lunatic Asylum, gave Charles Darwin a collection of photographic portraits depicting the “afflicted and insane.” What followed was a six-year relationship in which both men corresponded about “the physical manifestations of natural selection.”