What’s with the Don DeLillo pile-on? The folks at Slate post a long audio conversation about White Noise, with one participant calling the novel “flagrantly bad.” I disagree…but then, I kind of liked Point Omega, too.
In a Simpsons episode from the late nineties, Lisa Simpson, concerned that her mental skills may be deteriorating, manages to finagle her way onto a local TV news broadcast, where she urges the residents of Springfield to read two books: To Kill a Mockingbird and Harriet the Spy. At first glance, the two novels might not seem to have that much in common, but as Anna Holmes argues in a blog post for The New Yorker, the books share “ideas about the complexity, sophistication, and occasional wickedness of young girls’ imaginations.” (You could also read our own Garth Risk Hallberg on Malcolm Gladwell and To Kill a Mockingbird.)
“Adrianne [Lobel] suspects that there’s another dimension to the series’s sustained popularity. Frog and Toad are ‘of the same sex, and they love each other,’ she told me. ‘It was quite ahead of its time in that respect.’ In 1974, four years after the first book in the series was published, [Arnold] Lobel came out to his family as gay.” On love and Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad.
Are books on the way to becoming luxury objects? At Salon, Daniel D’Addario makes a case that they are, explaining how a new aestheticism in book design points to a future in which books function mainly as art objects. (While we’re on the subject of book design, it’s a good time to look back on our U.S.-U.K. book cover battle.)
Our own Bill Morris has a new novel on shelves this week, which you can learn more about in his recent conversation with our own Edan Lepucki. Also out: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman; Wayfaring Stranger by James Lee Burke; All I Love and Know by Judith Frank; Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen; The Hour of Lead by Bruce Holbert; The Spark and the Drive by Wayne Harrison; Owen’s Daughter by Jo-Ann Mapson; and Season to Taste by Natalie Young.