Granta asks past contributors for short playlists of songs on the theme of memory. Last week features selections by Aimee Bender, Isobel Dixon, and Adam Mars-Jones; weeks past include playlists from Jeffrey Eugenides, Lorrie Moore, and Wells Tower.
“[I]n the world of letters, it is hard to imagine a more seismic change than this one.” The New York Times announces that its longtime book critic Michiko Kakutani is stepping down after nearly four decades of reviews.
The Times also offers a roundup of her greatest hits, including writeups of Beloved, Infinite Jest, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Bill Clinton‘s memoir My Life:
The book, which weighs in at more than 950 pages, is sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull — the sound of one man prattling away, not for the reader, but for himself and some distant recording angel of history.
This announcement was followed by the great news that repeat Year in Reading alumna Parul Sehgal will join Jennifer Senior and Dwight Garner as a Times book critic, leaving her position as senior editor of the NYT Book Review. Congratulations, Parul!
Sergeant Ed Drew’s tintypes of the war in Afghanistan are the first tintypes made in a combat zone since The Civil War. Drew made them for his son. “I wanted him to know his father in the event that I was killed in action and it became less important that my work was done in tintype than that I could show the humanity of war in the eyes of airmen I fly combat missions with,” he said.
James Baldwin was more famous for being an essayist and novelist, but he was also a film critic. At The Atlantic, Noah Berlatsky argues that Baldwin should be considered one of the best film critics for The Devil Finds Work. “Baldwin shows that criticism is art, which means that it doesn’t need a purpose or a rationale other than truth, or beauty, or keeping faith, or doing whatever it is we think art is trying to do.” For more on Baldwin, read our essay on his epiphanies.