In 1929 readers ventured that John Galsworthy was the author most likely to be read in 100 years. Why were they so wrong?
Why do the British tell the best children’s stories? Perhaps because their culture has remained in touch with its pagan folklore, whereas in the United States, more pragmatic tales of morality, Christian obedience, and bootstrap-lifting rose to prominence. Also, picture books: general good thing for children or roadmap to total the moral collapse of society?
What’s the best book of the 21st century? To date, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao seems to be the favorite – the BBC polled a few dozen US critics and Junot Diaz‘s novel came in first place. The full list is available from The Guardian, and includes Zadie Smith‘s White Teeth and Michael Chabon‘s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, both of which appeared alongside Oscar Wao in our own “Best of the Millennium” list a few years ago.
Albert Uderzo, co-creator of Asterix, announced his retirement yesterday. Since 1977, Uderzo has been the sole author of the popular French comic books, which have sold over 350 million copies worldwide. His successor has yet to be named, though Uderzo said it will be an artist “who has been following us for a long time inside a studio I set up.”
“Maybe our anointed literary books just have to be earnest ones because earnest ones showcase that soupçon of intelligence. Maybe humor isn’t felt to indicate a genuine commitment to looking smart.” Year in Reading alum Lydia Millet talks with Jenny Offill about humor writing, what books are “anointed” as modern classics, and Millet’s new book, Mermaids in Paradise.
Slate books and culture columnist Laura Miller looks at what this year’s bestseller list tells us about 2017. One of her conclusions, “2017 was the year that the very concept of a best-seller became even more dubious.” After reading her analysis, check out our Year in Reading lists, whose authors found joy in reading and viewed it as one of the few good things of this year, even if the bestsellers of the year didn’t reflect those feelings.
“What does it look like to be the child of war? A product of war? What does it look like to be a queer child from a very traditional Confucian family? How does one feel to pay homage to a family but to also, in a way, betray those familial values?” Kaveh Akbar interviews Ocean Vuong about linguistic identity, syntax, and the American gaze for Divedapper.