Recommended Reading: Walter Kirn’s “Confessions of an Ex-Mormon,” which has my vote for the best long form article on American religions since Lawrence Wright’s profile of Paul Haggis and the Church of Scientology.
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).
“In Go Home! — a collection that feels particularly timely in the midst of attacks on immigrant families and communities — Asian diasporic writers are both thoughtful and generous in their reflections about who they are, where they have been, and where they belong.” For Shondaland, Nicole Chung interviewed Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, the anthology’s editor, and a few contributors (including Alexander Chee, Karissa Chen, T Kira Madden, and Esmé Weijun Wang) about what home means to them. Pair with: our review of Chee’s The Queen of the Night and Wang’s 2016 Year in Reading entry.
We give up a book for many reasons: it was too long, the writing was dull, it was written by E.L. James. Goodreads has charted just when and why we abandon books. Catch-22 is the number one abandoned book. (Confession: I didn’t finish it either.) Also, see our article on the pressures of finishing novels in the age of literary social media.
Electric Literature has launched the “Read More Women” series—a “stripped-down, feminist version” of the New York Times “By the Book” column—which will feature writers recommending books by women and non-binary authors. First up in the series is Maria Dahvana Headley, author of The Mere Wife.
The New Yorker has published another recently discovered Shirley Jackson short story “The Man in the Woods,” a fairy tale that takes on some classic mythology. According to her son, it’s one of many new stories found in her archives, and we can expect a new collection next year. “What was surprising to us was not that she was so prolific and had left behind so much unseen work but, rather, the quality of that work,” Laurence Jackson Hyman said.
Happy Halloween! At the New Yorker, the winners of the dress your pet as a literary character contest. Don’t miss the honorable mentions (I’m partial to the feline Moby Dick).