In the current issue of Tin House Robin Romm has a very compelling essay on the value of mean-spirited judgement in our novels, especially as empathy becomes reified into fiction’s greatest gift and virtue, or even treated as a therapeutic offering.
The New Yorker has been hosting a Twitter game show, and this time around the contestants were words and in a macabre turn each word was berated by the audience, the people calling out for the death of that contestant. One word was forced to ultimately bite the bullet and will no longer be welcome in the magazine’s next issue. Tragic.
When did Twitter turn into a place of public shame, outrage, and apology? Alexander Chee examines the changing culture in an essay for Dame Magazine. “Oh, Internet, place of the ultimate writerly paradox, where things you write quickly for little or no money last forever.” Our own Mark O’Connell explored something similar in his New Yorker essay on the public humiliation of regrettable tweets.
Patrick Reardon looks at 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die for the Chicago Tribune, and decides he wants to add his own favorites. Check out his eclectic list at the end of the piece. (thanks Steve)Maud mentioned off-hand that she abandons 95% of the books she starts before page 50. Sandra posted that this was “quite a failure rate,” and Maud responds in the comments that in this case she was “pining for a very specific kind of manic reading experience that happens for me maybe ten times a year now rather than every few days, as it did when I was a child.”Dogbert writes a book: “It’s part fake autobiography and part plagiarism” (via H2O)Pinky is about to start an MFA program at Pitt. The reading list looks excellent.Harper Lee will have an item in O of all places. According to the AP story, “a letter for Oprah Winfrey’s magazine on how she became a reader as a child in a rural, Depression-era Alabama town.” It’s for the July “special summer reading issue.”
The big, blockbuster book this week is the final installment in the late Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Those just catching on to the Larsson phenomenon can also now get the complete set. Moving on to quirkier fare, there’s The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto, a reprint of a 1950s treatise on drinking with a new introduction by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket). And finally, Library of America is putting out a volume of novels and stories by master of gothic fiction, Shirley Jackson.