From the Sentences We Thought We’d Never Write Department: Samuel Beckett shows some leg.
Heaven forbid someone ever draws parallels between your writing and that of “Robert Rabelais the Younger.” For his work, published in the nineteenth century, has been described as “the most appallingly bad epic poem to have ever been written in English, comprised of 384 interminable pages of doggerel verse devoid of any literary merit, an opus d'odure that screams stinkburger.” (And that’s one of the more positive evaluations.)
Book Riot has compiled a list of Roxane Gay’s recommended reads via Twitter. Some of her choices include Citizen by Claudia Rankine, God Help the Child by Toni Morrison, and City on Fire by our own Garth Risk Hallberg. See more books Gay recommends in our Year in Reading column.
New York Times travel editor Monica Drake recounts visiting Antigua after reading Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place—a sharp critique of tourism and the colonialist narrative around the island. As she puts it, “For all the drama of its history, [...] the beauty of the place, the very thing that bewitches its tourists, renders it a time capsule to its residents.”
"If culture is purely entertainment, nothing is of importance. If it's a matter of amusement, an impostor can undoubtedly amuse me more than a profoundly authentic person. But if culture signifies more than this, then it's worrying." Sociologist Gilles Lipovetsky interviews the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Mario Vargas Llosa about the contemporary collapse between "high" and "low" cultures.
World-building is an essential part of any story, but what about map-making? At Book Riot, two cartographers explain how they create the maps we see inside books. One cartographer’s perspective: “I really wanted to make a map that could easily be an artifact from the world of the book…. I came up with the idea that the map could be a page ripped from an atlas, and someone had written notes on it.” See also: Rob Goodman’s essay for the reader on world-building and its relationship to reality.