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“On the outside, she was immaculately poised, always elegantly dressed, with perfectly cut, silver hair; witty, brilliant company, properly opinionated, impatient with compromise or cant, what the book blurbs called ‘fiercely intelligent.’ But this came at a cost.” Jenny Diski‘s husband, the poet Ian Patterson, remembers his wife for The Guardian.
“I am not influenced by books. Instead, I am shaped by them. I am made of flesh and bone and blood. I am also made of books. ” Roxane Gay, author of An Untamed State, which we reviewed here, and Bad Feminist, takes a new, thoughtful spin on a Facebook trend in an essay for BuzzFeed.
“The short story, as a form, has plenty of defenders,” the collection of unconnected short stories, maybe not so much. In an essay for LitHub, regular Millions contributor Jonathan Russell Clark praises the unlinked stories of Barbara the Slut and Other People and Single, Carefree, Mellow because “despite a lack of the wholeness of a novel, something complete and true and hard-won emerges by the end.”
In the early eighties, when the writer James Lasdun was working in publishing, he rejected a book by a writer who turned out to be a pen name for Doris Lessing. The fallout? He couldn’t bring himself to read her work until this year. (Related: our own Mark O’Connell’s interview with Lasdun about his latest book.)
You may have heard that Kazuo Ishiguro recently published his first novel in more than ten years. The Buried Giant, which takes place in Arthurian England, is a departure for Ishiguro, a work of overt fantasy. At Slate, our own Mark O’Connell provides his take on the book. You could also read our own Lydia Kiesling’s review.
While the federal government is turning to video games to get kids into the math and sciences, back in the day comic books provided a near-direct link to young minds. But the medium wasn’t warmly received by the older generation (sound familiar?), and the company debated whether it was worth taking a hit with parents in order to appeal to their kids.
Sometime Ph.D candidate, sometime actor, and ubiquitous lit blog all-star James Franco (henceforth known as “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”) has begun filming an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God in West Virginia, and I’m reminded of that line from W. B. Yeats’ “The Second Coming” — “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.”