This week we have new on shelves: Julie Orringer’s hotly anticipated debut novel The Invisible Bridge; Meghan Daum’s memoir of real estate addiction Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House, Private Life by Jane Smiley, and The Singer’s Gun by our own Emily St. John Mandel.
Over at Hyperallergic, Claire Voon tours the New York Public Library’s collection of historical erotica, ranging from graphic illustrations hidden in photo albums to mid-century gay erotica. Pair with this Millions essay on private libraries and what books reveal about their readers.
"Each one of those books is, like, several hundred pages long. So, that’s a lot of romantic anxiety and adolescent/young-adult/middle-aged angst to distill into pictures, but as far as I can tell, it’s all there: salted fish, shower-sex, alcohol-induced existential despair, the whole shebang! No reading required." The Melville House blog, MobyLives, revisits the work of an anonymous artist who reenacted all of Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle series using LEGOs. See also: our review of Knausgaard's epic.
Recommended Reading: Bret Anthony Johnston on (not) writing what you know. His essay is an excerpt of Writer's Notebook II, published by the folks at Tin House. (Related: we published Harper's editor Christopher Beha's essay in the book last year.)
Dominic Umile takes a look at the Daytripper, a comic by Brazilian brothers Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. The comic, which was selected recently for les Fauves d'Angoulême – the largest comics festival in Europe – concerns the "volley of riches and failure from the desk of an obituary writer." As Umile notes, the art of obituary writing experienced quite a popularity surge in 2012. Times public editor Margaret Sullivan wrote about the regularity with which obituaries appeared on A1 in the paper, and the column even warranted the creation of its own dedicated Twitter account.
People like to think that the more books they read, the better people they’ll become. But is that really true? The answer’s unclear. But one thing does seem apparent: reading more books might make you better at bullying people.
Last week marked the release of The Heart is Strange, a new collection of John Berryman poems released to coincide with the centenary of the poet’s birth. At The Paris Review Daily, Dan Piepenbring digs through the magazine’s interview archives to find Berryman’s account of meeting W.B. Yeats. Pair with: Stephen Akey on Berryman's classic The Dream Songs.