Anyone who travels a lot will enjoy Dubravka Ugresic‘s essay on hotel minibars. As a matter of fact, just about anyone will enjoy this essay regardless of how often they travel.
Penelope Fitzgerald has been getting a lot of attention lately, largely due to Hermione Lee's newest biography. In an article for the Paris Review, Bridget Read considers the impact a better understanding of Fitzgerald's life could have on her modern reputation, and argues that "it is not extraordinary that she became a prize-winning novelist, though you may have heard otherwise. ... It is vital to emphasize that Fitzgerald’s novels were not achieved in spite of her domestic life; they were borne directly out of it. Her work is radical in that it suggests that, in fact, a feminine experience, a liminal experience, might be better equipped than a male one to address the contradictions of human existence taken up by the greatest literature."
"Despite its brevity, the diary is an illuminating document that offers a glimpse into the mind of the artist as a young woman." The never-before-seen diary of Flannery O’Connor has been published in Image, an arts and faith quarterly, and reveals the shadow of the writer she would become. See also: our own Nick Ripatrazone on teaching O'Connor.
Our friends at The Common have organized a Postcard Auction, and you have until May 20 to bid online. Users can bid on the chance to have well-known authors – such as Adam Johnson, Téa Obreht, Chris Ware, and Kiese Laymon – send handwritten postcards to the address of their choosing. Come on, now. This is your chance to get a handwritten note from an Orange Prize-winner.
"'Moby Dick is one of my favorite books, but let's face it — it's a hot mess,' says Evison. 'If I had software that said, 'Look, maybe this four-page essay on scrimshaw isn't gonna fly with your 28 to 40 male [demographic],' what would we have lost with that? Sometimes, you know, it's just got to be a little bit of a dictatorship.'" When e-readers and marketing tactics collide.
“Now I get paid to do something I have loved since I was 4 years old. Other than my family, is there anything else I have loved so unconditionally, for so long?” Georgia Cloepfil in N+1 on the uncompromising, compromised life of the professional female athlete. See also: some thoughts about hosting the World Cup.
Out this week: Swing Time by Zadie Smith; Born a Crime by Trevor Noah; The China Sketchbook by I. Allen Sealy; Writing to Save a Life by John Edgar Wideman; The Abridged History of Rainfall by Jay Hopler; and Forever Words by the late Johnny Cash. For more on these and other new titles, go read our latest fiction and nonfiction book previews.