The huge, McSweeney’s-published, John Sayles novel A Moment in the Sun has been getting great reviews. It’s now out. Also new this week is China Mieville’s Embassytown, reviewed here today; Paul Theroux’s exploration of the genre of travel writing, The Tao of Travel; prizewinning Nigerian author Helon Habila’s new novel Oil on Water; and A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman, the complete stories of Margaret Drabble, recently written up by Joyce Carol Oates in the New Yorker. New in paperback are a pair of Millions Hall of Famers, Emma Donoghue’s Room and Justin Cronin’s The Passage.
A poem by Dylan Thomas, “A Dream of Winter,” has been rediscovered after 70 years. Celyn Jones, who acted as Thomas in Set Fire to the Stars, will perform the poem in London tomorrow. We wrote about the the power of reading poetry aloud and how it connects us to the dead.
If the description “a comic thriller about mermaids, the natural world and ruthless capitalism” isn’t enough to pique your interest, you might be inspired to pick up Lydia Millet’s latest by the title of Laura Miller’s review, which describes Millet as “the P.G. Wodehouse of environmental writing.” At Salon, the book critic goes into the many reasons she enjoys Millet’s work, among them the author’s knack for deploying humor at appropriate times. FYI, Millet wrote an article for The Millions recently.
Object narrative (n): a story told through meditations on various physical objects. Examples include Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with Amber Eyes; Neil MacGregor’s A History of the World in 100 Objects; and Paula Byrne’s The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things.
Two weeks ago, the Internet Gods (meaning: the Unicode 7.0 update) gave us hundreds of new emoji symbols, including the middle finger and peace dove. By now our emoji usage patterns can be used by psychologists to understand our minds. “People who use no noses tend to be tweeting more about… Justin Bieber. They have younger interests, younger concerns, whether or not they’re younger.”
The Science Genius Initiative is a pilot project organized by Rap Genius, science teachers from ten New York City public schools, and GZA. Together, the group hopes “to change the way city teachers relate to minority students, drawing not just on hip-hop’s rhymes, but also on its social practices and values.” Indeed, as the Wu-Tang Clan emcee – who’s been working with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and MIT physicists for his new album – believes science is worth studying because it “unlocks the key to the universe, and the mysteries we don’t know.”
It’s not every day that fans of a novel look forward to a Lifetime movie, but such is the case for fans of Flowers in the Attic, whose 1987 film adaptation left out many of the details that made the book a “rite of passage for teenage girls in the ‘80s.” At Slate, Tammy Oler delves into the book’s importance and its history on the screen.