Vanity Fair remembers Christopher Hitchens, a favorite of ours who was always fun to root for, and who, as you’ve no doubt heard by now, died last night. Andrew Sullivan remembers an email exchange from happier times. Hitchens’ ebook from this year, The Enemy, is in our Hall of Fame, and we reviewed his memoir, Hitch-22, last year.
The Olympics Opening Ceremony this year sure was… something. Thankfully, folks more eloquent than I are here to parse its craziness for us: Jenny Diski and Rafil Kroll-Zaidi on what it was, plus Alex Shephard and the Full Stop bunch on what it should have been.
William Blake may have described its “green and pleasant land” but this week England had traded green for white, as you can see in this NASA photograph (c/o Gizmodo).
Our love of The Atlantic‘s By Heart series continues with Azar Nafisi‘s contribution to the series: an essay on reading James Baldwin, the importance of literature to democracy, and how ultimately “we need literature to remind us how like each other we are, despite our differences.” Pair with Justin Campbell‘s Millions essay on race, fatherhood and reading Baldwin.
Nobody likes to be critiqued. Lucas Gardener at The New Yorker would really like to assure all of his concerned Creative Writing workshop classmates that his most recent submission, “Creative Writing Beatdown,” is entirely fictional and has no basis in reality. Really.
In book-to-film news, Lupita Nyong’o has signed on to produce and star in an adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s novel Americanah, and we couldn’t be more excited. For more from Adichie, be sure to check out her “Year in Reading” piece for The Millions.