We thoroughly enjoyed the latest episode of David Naimon‘s Between the Covers podcast featuring Whiting-Award winner Tyehimba Jess. The conversation centers on Jess’s latest book, Olio, a tour de force hybrid-genre exploration of African-American performers from the period just before the American Civil War through World War I. (Previously: We recommended Jess’s Leadbelly as perfect reading for train travel.)
After last week’s NYT “Room for Debate” feature, ostensibly in answer to the question of why so many adults read YA fiction, Roger Sutton at the Horn Book took umbrage at the panelists’ only partial engagement with the question. In the end though, he makes his own position clear: “I don’t worry about adults reading YA novels. Read what you want.”
“In order to overcome their creative challenges, the authors I interviewed didn’t need to write prettier sentences: They needed to become more disciplined, more generous, braver. Literature seems to require these qualities of us, somehow, both in writing and in reading.” Joe Fassler‘s “By Heart” series at The Atlantic provides us with another year’s worth of writing wisdom, including advice from Alexander Chee, Michael Chabon, Lydia Millet, et al. We also highly recommend the conversation between Chee, Emily Barton, and Whitney Terrell about the decade each of them took to see their novels realized in the world.
The number of options presented to people dating today can be overwhelming and sometimes weird. Alexandra Kleeman’s debut novel You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine touches on this subject, posing “questions about wanting and having and bodies and food and sex that often arise in discussions about how people date today.” Natasha Lewis reviews the book in The New Republic.