Steven Millhauser’s new collection We Others is out this week, as are Hisham Matar’s Anatomy of a Disappearance and Alex Shakar’s Luminarium. Here at The Millions, Shakar recently offered the harrowing story of the publication of his first novel. Alexandra Fuller has a new memoir out. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness. and foodies are celebrating with 40 Years of Chez Panisse: The Power of Gathering.
On a more optimistic note, New Directions, New York City’s inestimable and long struggling (but “long dazzling!”) publishing house, will be throwing itself a 75th birthday party on Thursday, October 27. (They just redesigned their website and colophon, too.)
Students at the University of California Santa Barbara, Rutgers, Oberlin, and others have been requesting “trigger warning” labels on literature from The Great Gatsby to Huck Finn. In The Guardian, University College London Professor John Mullan snipes, “You might as well put a label on English literature saying: warning – bad stuff happens here.”
The Atlantic reviews the first full-length biography of Joan Didion, The Last Love Song by Tracy Daugherty, to be released August 25th. The biography “looks at the author’s legacy of cool.” Related: Franklin Strong’s essay on “The Manliness of Joan Didion” in The Millions.
“Publishing is also an industry that selectively values a kind of swaggering authenticity that would never capitulate to demands for something so banal as being nice. But authenticity is too often a short hand for callous, aloof, or honest for the purpose of cruelty rather than truth-seeking.” Alana Massey writes about the “niceness” of publishing.