Another week of literary contests has whittled the Tournament of Books field down to four: Freedom, A Visit From the Goon Squad, Next, and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Today, the team offers more analysis, previewing and recapping. Up next: the semis, the Zombie round, and the grand finale.
“I asked myself – why don’t I state the race of my characters? And am I doing something wrong by not explicitly including a diverse cast of characters? Could I be doing something better? The short answer is yes.” An argument in favor of race bent fanfiction and resisting assumedly white characters from The Missouri Review blog.
Caitlin Flanagan’s long Atlantic piece on Joan Didion has sparked a lot of conversation. Among the article’s contentious lines: “to really love Joan Didion … you have to be female.”
For the most part, Alexis de Tocqueville had good things to say about the young United States in his book Democracy in America, which is probably why we tend to forget that he thought Americans weren’t funny. What de Tocqueville missed, according to a new history of American humor, is the extent to which American funniness emerged from subversive groups of outsiders. In Bookforum, Ben Schwartz takes stock of the arguments in American Fun.