Laura Miller at Salon explains why she would choose the novels and stories of Shirley Jackson to be stuck with in an isolated cabin over those of Roth, Cheever or Carver.
"I realize that, like most fantasies, reality is likely to be more complicated. For starters, literary communities—like most communities—have echelons. They have cliques; they have ghettos. You are the wrong age, work in the wrong genre, don’t know the right people, don’t teach at the same program ... Anyone who thinks this isn’t true is someone squarely at the center of his or her chosen circle." On peripherality and the uncertain nature of literary community.
Not familiar with Zora Neale Hurston or just need to brush up in preparation for her birthday? Liz Dwyer has got you covered. "Through the #MeToo movement we’ve read the stories of how calling out sexual harassment and the patriarchy has ruined women’s careers. Similarly, Hurston was shunned and derided by many of her male compatriots in the Harlem Renaissance for creating one of the first strong, black, and sexually aware female protagonists of 20th century American fiction." Hooked yet? After you finish, read this essay by our own Jeffrey Colvin on visiting Zora's birthplace and his sister.
"What does the professoriate watch off the clock, in their precious moments of respite?" Because academics need breaks too, Sarah Kessler asks her colleagues what shows they'll be binge-watching this summer. If you're one of those weirdos who still prefers books, though, how about binge-reading Henry James?
Norman Rockwell was an unhappy and enervated man who became iconic by painting scenes of happy, energetic people. He developed a style that became synonymous with idyllic visions of America. At Page-Turner, Lee Siegel reads Deborah Solmon's American Mirror, a new biography of Rockwell that acknowledges the painter’s contradictions without “mocking or scolding” him for the gulf between his life and his art.
In case you missed it: Google bought Frommer's last August. Then in April, Google announced that it would stop printing hard-copy guidebooks, so founder Arthur Frommer bought his company back. All of this has led Doug Mack to argue that not only do we need guidebooks, but they should be part of the literary canon. "They also stand out for shaping history, if not always intentionally, because of their authoritative reputation—they have long been the best insight into that which would be otherwise unknown."