Watch David Shields on the Colbert Report last week — Colbert: “Are you the Vanilla Ice of novels?” Shields: “Precisely.”
“[I]t’s important that people begin to understand that whiteness is not inevitable, and that white dominance is not inevitable.” Claudia Rankine talks to The Guardian about her plans for the Racial Imaginary Institute, a think-tank-cum-gallery that she's founding with all that MacArthur Genius cash. See also: why Americans love poetry, but not poetry books.
New this week: The Most of Nora Ephron; At Night We Walk in Circles by New Yorker 20 Under 40er Daniel Alarcón; S., a novel written by Doug Dorst in collaboration with J.J. Abrams (which naturally has a trailer); and The Gorgeous Nothings, a full-color facsimile of poems that Emily Dickinson drafted on the backs of envelopes. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview.
In a head-scratching piece of writing for the New Statesman, Dave Eggers (whose novel The Circle just cracked our Top Ten) reflects on a cross-country drive he took from Jeddah to Riyadh. The journey, and in particular a comment made by his chauffeur, caused Eggers to ponder the significance of his nationality, his ability to perceive danger, and the intentions of others. The short of it: Some people from other countries are nice. Who knew?