“White Americans do not realize how black they are,” writes Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish. If, upon reading Sullivan, you find yourself questioning your racial identity, try the blog Stuff White People Like–sure, most of it is really stuff that dinks and yuppies like (class trumps race, as Walter Ben Michaels explains at the LRB), but it might help you brush up on the ways and loves of white folks: camping, pea coats, hating your parents, Wes Anderson, diversity, sushi, standing still at concerts…
The F.B.I. had a massive file on James Baldwin in the fifties and sixties. Among other things, their notes featured passages of surprisingly adept criticism, including an oddly in-depth look at sexuality in his work. You could also read Justin Campbell on race, fatherhood and Baldwin’s fiction.
What happened to the literature of clothing? Writers like Balzac and Proust wrote philosophies of clothing, but nowadays there seems to be a wall between literary writing and fashion. In Public Books, Mary Davis reads Women in Clothes, a collection which reveals a lot about how much our views of fashion writing have changed. FYI, Rachel Signer reviewed the book for The Millions.
"As much as I claimed that I read for my own edification, it was a lie. The books I was most drawn to were those that were loved by someone in my life. Reading them, I thought, would teach me all I needed to know about them—nice and safe, from a distance. Reading them with one hand, it was easy to have the other keep them at arm’s length." Romy Sugden writes for The Oyster Review about trying to connect with her estranged father by reading John le Carré's A Perfect Spy.