Newsweek unearthed a heretofore unseen candid snapshot of J.D. Salinger “three years into the seclusion that would span the last 45 years of his life.” (Thanks, Chris)
“Why should Serena not respond to racism? In whose world should it be answered with good manners? The notable difference between black excellence and white excellence is white excellence is achieved without having to battle racism. Imagine.” Claudia Rankine writes for The New York Times Magazine about tennis player Serena Williams, racism in sports, and white privilege. Pair with our own Michael Bourne’s list of books that “shed light on the history and evolution of racism in America.”
P. G. Wodehouse is enjoying a popular revival thanks in part to W. W. Norton re-releasing some of his books with nice, attention-grabbing covers. Of course the British author has long had his supporters. Among them? George Orwell. Elsewhere, The Guardian compares Wodehouse’s correspondence to Ernest Hemingway‘s.
Recommended Reading: Kayla Williams‘s overview of books about war written by women veterans. “Works have been published by women veterans from all four branches of service, officers and enlisted, active duty and reservists, and from multiple ethnic backgrounds. Their diverse voices can significantly deepen our understanding of both who volunteers to serve in today’s military and what they experience.”
Out this week: Thirty Girls by Susan Minot; The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol; The Bear by Claire Cameron; The News: A User’s Manual by Alain de Botton; The Quiet Streets of Winslow by Judy Troy; a new translation of August by Christa Wolf; The Parallel Apartments by Bill Cotter; and The Journey of a Caribbean Writer by Maryse Condé. For more on these and other new releases, check out our Great 2014 Book Preview.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, Americans are reading fewer books than they were back in 2014. A whopping twenty-eight percent of those surveyed reported not having finished even a single book in the past year, though the average number of books read per person last year remained at fourteen. For a little more in moderation lit, here’s an essay from The Millions on reading fewer books.
“Many writers write vexed introspection, or detail-oriented reporting, or counterintuitive cultural commentary, or lifestyle journalism. But so far only Didion has done all four in perfect synthesis, a prose that, at its best, can fire on every cylinder and work on multiple fields of the imagination at once.” In support of the Kickstarter project for the documentary on Joan Didion, We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live, Nathan Heller looks back over Didion’s writing career, her “imaginatively seductive” nonfiction writing and her carefully constructed confessionalism in a piece for Vogue.
Recommended Reading: Tabitha Blankenbiller responds to The New York Times’ piece on Manly Book Clubs. “Reading the article yet again, my pity for this dude squad begins to blossom. To think that they will head into the ground without the words of Terry Tempest Williams or Lidia Yuknavitch or Sandra Cisneros in their hearts.” For a bit of humor about a manly book club, check out our rock ‘n’ roll book club.