The Culturephiles want to put the kibosh on the “open letter” bit. What better way to tackle that than with an open letter.
"You should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children," Ruth Graham wrote in Slate last week, stirring the proverbial pot of new adult fans of Young Adult bestsellers like The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor & Park. A host of YA-defenders rose up to shout her down. "You should never be embarrassed by any book you enjoy," Hillary Kelly responds in The New Republic, unrealistically (we're embarrassed by quite a lot). For the Washington Post, Alyssa Rosenberg cites examples of worthwhile, complex YA fiction we can certainly support: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Pushcart War, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Westing Game.
2012 could be the year that we get to know Sergei Dovlatov, and our own Sonya Chung may have played a role. Her 2009 piece on the forgotten Russian humorist helped land one of his stories in PEN America. Soon we started seeing Dovlatov mentioned everywhere, and last year, Counterpoint published The Suitcase, and now The Zone will be released this week. Other new releases this week: An Available Man by Hilma Wolitzer, Heft by Liz Moore, and The Evening Hour, a debut novel by Carter Sickels.
“Last week, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced that it had commissioned thirty-six playwrights to translate all of Shakespeare’s plays into modern English. The backlash began immediately.” The New Yorker on why we don’t change Shakespeare’s language. You could also check out our traditional and modern readings of Shakespeare.
The New York Times looks back on Nora Ephron's career and celebrates her distinct tone. EW has collected some of the best quotes from her books. Ariel Levy recalls her first encounter with Ephron's "funny, frank, self-effacing but never self-pitying, and utterly intimate" voice.
Black Country, the debut book of poetry by Liz Berry, won this year's Forward prize for best first collection. At The Guardian, Ben Wilkinson writes about the ways in which the book “digs deep into the poet’s West Midlands roots, enlivening and reimagining the heritage of that eponymous heartland of iron foundries, coal mines and steel mills, on both personal and public footings.”