There are two essays on the narrative genius behind The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling, over at Berfrois: Michael A. Moodian on how using genre tropes allowed Serling to tell politically volatile stories during the McArthy era of Hollywood, and Christopher Cappelluti takes a look at how The Twilight Zone changed television history.
“The thriller, set in a dystopian future where women and girls can kill men with a single touch, was the favourite on a shortlist that included former winner Linda Grant and Man Booker-shortlisted Madeleine Thien.” Naomi Alderman’s The Power has become the first speculative work to nab the Baileys prize for women’s fiction, reports The Guardian, noting that the judges said Alderman’s book would be “a classic of the future.” See also: a few years back we highlighted a collaboration between Alderman and Year in Reading alum Margaret Atwood, a comic zombie novel that you can still read in its entirety here.
A few weeks ago, I pointed you to this piece on the surprising racism of children’s books. The essay was a response to controversy surrounding the rescinded publication of Ramin Ganeshram’s A Birthday Cake for George Washington, which upset readers with its confusing, cheerful illustrations and alleged misrepresentation of the nature of slavery. Over at The Guardian Ganeshram defends herself and addresses the problem of cover design versus author intent.
In 1847, Charles Dickens founded a house for homeless women in the Shepherd’s Bush neighborhood of London. After setting up the center’s amenities, he publicized the house using leaflets and, upon hearing that London society was shocked that the center had a piano, spread a rumor that the center boasted a piano for every resident. At The Guardian, a look at a letter Dickens wrote to the matron of the house, to be sold at Christie’s in May. (h/t The Paris Review)
Nemesis, the latest from Philip Roth is now out. Other new fiction this week includes Nicole Krauss’ Great House and Myla Goldberg’s The False Friend. In non-fiction, Steven Johnson takes on a thought-provoking topic with Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. Also new are Ron Chernow’s massive biography of George Washington and a new book from Bill Bryson, At Home: A Short History of Private Life.