Penguin is putting out snazzy, mesmerizing, jacket-less hardcover editions of a number of classics. These remind of the old books on my parents’ shelves. You won’t be able to get your hands on these for a few months though.
In the sixties, when he was a student at Cambridge, Stephen Greenblatt came across a book of Persian art. The book inspired a lifelong interest in the region, which in part explains why, after the University of Tehran invited him to give the keynote address at the first annual Iranian Shakespeare Congress, he packed his bags and headed over to the Middle East. In The New York Review of Books, the Harvard professor and Swerve author writes about his experience.
Neil Gaiman is famous for a lot of reasons, but perhaps the number one reason is Sandman, the graphic novel series that won the author nineteen Eisner and six Harvey awards. Now, twenty-five years after publishing the first issue, Gaiman has written a prequel, named Overture.
The Tide King author Jen Michalski shares a wonderfully honest account of how she managed to write her way out of the closet. “People, mostly nonwriters, are always surprised when I tell them I wrote so much growing up,” she says. “But those words, I want to tell them, weren’t written for anyone else – the audience who needed to see them and the audience for whom they were written was me.”
“Young black fiction writers in the U.S. often face a strange obstacle as they try to figure out who they are — it’s called American literature. A high number of pre-civil-rights-era novels by white American writers are likely to include tossed-off racial slurs and/or stock black characters, some of which make racially conscious readers want to hurl the book across the room, even if the wooly-headed pickaninnies are only peeking around a doorjamb on one page out of 400. There are exceptions, but shockingly few. You always have to brace yourself — always.” James Hannaham writes about growing up in Yonkers but finding himself in Southern literature.