A big week for books: Zadie Smith’s NW is out (read the first lines), as is Christopher Hitchens’s Mortality, a collection of essays penned while he fought cancer (our essay on Hitchens’ death) (his collection Arguably is out in paperback today). More new books: Emma Straub’s Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, Umberto Eco’s essay collection Inventing the Enemy, Davy Rothbart’s essay collection My Heart Is an Idiot, Frederick Seidel’s poetry collection Nice Weather, documentarian Errol Morris’s A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald, and the Navy Seal book about the bin Laden mission. Also, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides is now out in paperback (read Eugenides on the book’s genesis), as is Stephen Greenblatt’s Pulitzer winner The Swerve.
“Many black parents tell black children to strive; to seize opportunities that will enable upward mobility. However, they also give their children a poison capable of eroding black children’s innocence. They tell them to be twice as good; that there is no room for failure or mistakes.” Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of Here Comes the Sun, writes about how black children are denied the privilege of innocence.
New this week: Paul Auster’s latest, Sunset Park; a new collection of short stories from Stephen King called Full Dark, No Stars; The Memory Hole, a memoir by the historian Tony Judt who recently died from ALS (the essays collected here appeared in recent months in the New York Review of Books); and the latest obligatory obfuscatory presidential memoir Decision Points.
After reviewing a selection of new books on Godlessness, self-described disappointed disbeliever Christopher Beha wonders if literature can fill the spiritual voids of atheism. Our own Garth Risk Hallberg also investigated a slew of New Atheist books just last year.
If this Curiosity was presented to you in person, it’d go like this: “Hey, Nick, you haven’t posted a beautiful video in a while.” “Oh, I’m sorry. Here’s a 1080p visualization of the ocean’s surface currents between 2005-2007. It looks like Van Gogh painted it.”