Our own Emily Mandel may have been onto something with her “catastrophic” summer reading list; dystopia seems to be all the rage this summer. The WSJ sets Rick Moody’s The Four Fingers of Death in “a dystopian United States that is halfway between Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano and Woody Allen’s Sleeper.” The SF Chron calls Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story “literature’s first dystopian epistolary romantic satire.” And later this year, as we noted this month, will be Salvation City by Sigrid Nunez, which focuses on a cultish community in the dystopian aftermath of a flu pandemic.
USA Today is running an excerpt of Denis Johnson’s much buzzed about new doorstop Tree of Smoke.The New Yorker Food Issue, to my mind the highlight of the New Yorker publishing year, has arrived. Somehow I look forward to this one as much as I did the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue when I was twelve. Much of the good stuff isn’t online, but you can get a taste of the food writing on offer with a series of short essays under theme “Family Dinner.” Aleksandar Hemon, Gary Shteyngart, Nell Freudenberger, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, David Sedaris, Anthony Lane, and Donald Antrim are on the menu.
In case you missed it, this past weekend The New York Review of Books likely outed the author who’s been writing under the nom de plume of Elena Ferrante. Condemnation was fast and furious, including pieces by n+1 and this fantastic Twitter thread by critic Lili Loofbourow. We join the chorus of voices who would rather direct the attention back to Ferrante’s work. Might we suggest starting with this piece about The Neapolitan Quartet‘s subversive power?
Here’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the communion wafer’s place in free-market capitalism.
Last night at the General Assembly, the working group of drummers, Pulse, in a spirit of conciliation and generosity, brought forward a proposal to limit their drumming from 12 to 2 and 4 to 6 pm only.
Ever wondered why Knopf’s colophon is a borzoi, or why Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s colophon appears to be a musician riding a flying dolphin? Well, now you can find out. Also, a while back, HTMLGIANT‘s Jimmy Chen ranked some colophons by their ability to fly.
As we noted here recently about the rise and fall of Motown, the real issue was money — who earned it, who kept it, who never saw it. Now Barrett Strong, who co-wrote and sang the Detroit label’s first hit in 1959, “Money (That’s What I Want),” tells The New York Times that he never saw a penny of royalties for a song that became a classic and generated millions of dollars for the label. Strong’s story is the story of Motown boiled down to its bitter, ironic essence.