Emily Gould, author of the new memoir And the Heart Says Whatever, lists the best memoirs ever at the Daily Beast: “A few themes run throughout: druggy, decadent bohemia, forbidden or strange sex, art, and power, and, um, cooking.”
“Life is worth less than a line of Baudelaire’s poetry.” These two lyric essays by Chen Li over at Asymptote Journal are economical and well-worth the read. Though Chen Li is from Taiwan, he writes in Chinese; this syllabus of Chinese writing and the “New China” from Casey Walker at The Millions pairs quite nicely.
"Desire is transformative, and transgressive: whether it’s an unpeeled onion or a noble lover, to want something, especially for women, can never be entirely benign." Kristiana Willsey writes about folktales, fairy godmothers, childless queens and hunger in a piece for The Toast.
The website Victorian Serial Novels lets you experience 19th-century novels "serially and in their cultural contexts." Select your author, the timespan within which you want installments to come, and enjoy. How to choose what to read first? Not to worry, these six Dickensian experts have you covered.
Out this week: The Laughing Monsters by Denis Johnson; Let Me Be Frank With You by Richard Ford; Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet; Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter; Twilight of the Eastern Gods by Ismail Kadare; A Map of Betrayal by Ha Jin; Something Rich and Strange by Ron Rash; and Shark by Will Self. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.