New this week: The Leftovers by Tom Perotta, Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, The Cut by George Pelecanos, Justin Torres’s debut We the Animals, and Just My Type: A Book About Fonts. And new in paperback is Millions Hall of Famer Skippy Dies by Paul Murray.
It’s high time we acknowledge the mastery of the short story by some really fantastic American women. At LitHub, Bridget Read makes a compelling case for such writers as Lucia Berlin and Jamaica Kincaid as veritable dons of the genre. This piece pairs nicely with a recent Millions essay by Adam Boffa on terseness, Twitter, and Lydia Davis.
Jonathan Raban intersperses biographical information about William Gaddis in order to give the correspondence collected in his recently published Letters greater context. There are ample details about the author’s travels in his young adulthood, his artistic frustrations over the publication of The Recognitions, and, of course, many details about the women in Gaddis’s life. “In letters to his mother,” Raban writes, “Gaddis liked to depict himself as someone repeatedly smitten by beautiful women.” (Bonus: “The Letters of William Gaddis contains five letters addressed to me.”
ICYMI, J.J. Abrams (of Lost and Star Trek fame) will release a novel — conceived by Abrams and written by Doug Dorst — in October with the enigmatic title of S. Last month, he released the first half of a teaser trailer; this week, he released the second half.
“Motherhood remains more of a choice for some than others, and yet our varying degrees of agency are rarely acknowledged by the mainstream narrative upheld by the vast majority of what has (disparagingly) been referred to as ‘mommy lit’.” An essay in Buzzfeed about pregnancy, queerness, and three upcoming memoirs about motherhood (and non-motherhood). Pair with: an essay about motherhood as muse.
A lot is written about artists just starting their careers, and about those artists with a lifetime of work to look back over, but in a piece for The Enemy Barry Schwabasky considers the difficulty of being somewhere in the middle of an artistic career. After all, “most artists do, for better or worse, live through what’s come to be known as their midcareer. It’s just that they don’t often do so with ease. … The middle of the journey sometimes seems to be all about losing the way.”
A striking photo of the Brontё sisters is not, in fact, a photo of the Brontё sisters. The women in the photo look a lot like them, but their hometown didn’t have much in the way of photography in the 1840s, and there isn’t any record of the Brontёs getting their photo taken. So how did the picture become known for being something it isn’t? At the LRB’s blog, Alice Spawls explains why. Pair with our own Edan Lepucki on Jane Eyre’s Mr. Rochester.