“But money is not neutral; it changes everything, including the ability to neutrally judge what people will or will not do for it.” Zadie Smith has a short essay in the New Yorker on the trials of lending money to a friend.
E.V. de Cleyre writes for Ploughshares about sentimentality. As she puts it, “It is not enough to have a feeling and express it—we must exercise discernment, ask what these feelings we’re feeling are, dissect them, and find the language that matches how they look, feel, smell, and taste.” Pair with this Millions essay on literary sentiment.
After fourteen years, Bookslut is closing its doors. In a post that went up on March 9th, founder Jessa Crispin announced that the blog she started when she was twenty-three, which made a name for itself as one of the first major book sites on the web, is ceasing publication as of tomorrow, May 6th. She talks with Boris Kachka at Vulture about why it’s closing, what she’s learned about the publishing world, and what it was like when she started: “People who started blogging even a year after us didn’t have the same response because the audience got divided.”
In 1992, William Gibson published Agrippa, a poem coded on a floppy disk such that after one reading it would destroy itself forever. Quinn DuPont, a PhD student studying cryptography, built an emulation of the self-destructing poem and has a challenge to cyberpunks and cryptographers: be the first person to crack the poem’s code and win a copy of every one of Gibson’s books ever published.
In a By Heart piece for The Atlantic, Harriet Lane writes about the “bleak precise nature” of Philip Larkin‘s poetry (what Stephen Akey called “The Poetry of Mental Unhealth” in a Millions review) and about the power inherent in writing fiction. “In my everyday life I have no control, really: who does? But on paper, I hold all the cards. Fiction provides you with a way to shape a world, to exert the kind of power and agency our real lives so often lack.”
It’s extremely difficult to keep up with all of the books being published each day, so many thanks to the New York Times for this list of the latest in science fiction and fantasy. Now seems like as good a time as any to remind you about our Great Second-Half of 2016 Book Preview since we still have a bit of time left in the year.