Janet Reitman, a contributing editor to Rolling Stone, spent five years researching Inside Scientology, which is reviewed here by Brook Wilensky-Lanford for The San Francisco Chronicle. Earlier this year, ‘Million Dollar Baby‘-screenwriter Paul Haggis spoke with Lawrence Wright of The New Yorker about L. Ron Hubbard‘s religion.
“Fifty Shades of Grey follows this long history of class ascendancy via feminine wiles, but does so cleverly disguised as an edgy modern bodice-ripper,” writes Heather Havrilesky in the latest issue of The Baffler. Throughout the piece, Havrilesky explores the way luxury brand fetishism and conspicuous consumption fueled E.L. James’s “female-friendly” pornography phenomenon
“The so-called ‘alt-right’ is white nationalism repackaged as retro-chic, and its discourse constantly invokes nostalgia for a golden age in the Confederate South when racism when reigned supreme. The leaders of this project will need to be very careful that they don’t end up just creating a Disneyland for racists.” A coalition of local businesses in Monroeville, Alabama, Harper Lee‘s hometown, plan to open a major tourist attraction built around the late author’s home and fabrications of fictional locations featured in To Kill A Mockingbird. Critics are dubious, reports The Guardian. Perhaps, in lieu of a trip, you’ll accept this essay by Robert Rea about his literary pilgrimage to Lee-land?
Pew Research published 10 Facts About Americans and Public Libraries, and some of the findings may surprise you. For example, would you have guessed that 26% of library patrons say their use has gone up in the past five years? Other findings, of course, won’t shock anybody — such as the fact that e-reading is on the rise, which, as I noted two years ago, poses some serious ecological challenges.
William Tyndale, one of the leading figures in the Protestant reform, was executed in 1536 for his translation of the Bible into English. Over at Asymptote Journal, Josh Billings considers the meaning of Tyndale’s death. As he explains it, “It happened in an era when translation was taken extremely seriously, not just because it allowed ordinary people to read the Bible in their own languages, but because it implied those languages were as capable of containing God’s Word as Latin, Greek or Hebrew.”
Glen Duncan, author of the genre novel The Last Werewolf, opened his New York Times review of Colson Whitehead‘s Zone One with this controversial line: “A literary novelist writing a genre novel is like an intellectual dating a porn star”. Understandably, this led to some uproar. Now he’s doubling down on his stance.
The New York Times‘ David Orr “rediscovers” the poetry of The Solitudes author Luis de Góngora. Góngora, Orr explains, is “one of the most significant figures in Spanish early modern literature.”