New Directions turned 75 yesterday, so here’s a look back on the history of their colophon. In other birthday news, Iris Murdoch was born on this day in 1919, and tomorrow The Catcher in the Rye turns 60.
One thing that pretty much everyone can agree on is that Go Set a Watchman is a controversial book. Our own Michael Bourne said it “fails as a work of art in every way except as a corrective to the standard sentimental reading of Atticus Finch.” At Slate, Dan Kois, Meghan O’Rourke and Katy Waldman debate the main questions the novel raised.
In 1986, six years before the publication of The Secret History, Donna Tartt was chosen as the student speaker of her graduating class at Bennington College. A typewritten copy of the speech was recently unearthed, in which she looks back upon her education and the college campus that inspired her first novel. Pair with this comprehensive list of the artworks in Tartt’s The Goldfinch.
Adam Mansbach’s Go The F**k to Sleep took the children’s book market — or at least the number of adults talking about the children’s book market — to a whole new level last summer. Then, weeks later, Samuel L. Jackson read parts of the story for its book trailer, and people freaked out all over again. Well, prepare yourselves yet again, folks. Now somebody’s remixed that recording into the most badass (NSFW) lullaby of all time.
Are you familiar with “Teach This Poem“? If not you should be. This organization just won the National Book Foundation’s 2018 Innovations in Reading Prize. Their literary social impact mission? Help teachers add poetry to their curriculum; “Each week, The Academy of American Poets emails out a poem along with interdisciplinary information — classroom discussion questions and multimedia offerings like maps, videos, photography, and related reading suggestions. Everything is curated to help teachers incorporate poetry into the classroom experience.” Find out more about the prize and the org here.
Idris Elba, Sean Penn and Javier Bardem have signed on to star in a film adaptation of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s novel, The Prone Gunman. According to Christian Blauvelt of Hollywood.com, “Elba will be playing a cloak-and-dagger agent named Dupont who tangles with Sean Penn, who also plays an agent for a clandestine operations outfit who is betrayed by his organization, forcing him on the run across Europe.”