Those of you who know the joy of reading romance novels with your friends have probably wondered at some point what people who write erotica are like. Are they bankers and professionals? Housewives and mistresses? Are they some combination of all of the above? At Slate, a chaste look at the lives of unchaste writers.
“This is what set Geeshie and Elvie apart even from the rest of an innermost group of phantom geniuses of the ’20s and ’30s. Their myth was they didn’t have anything you could so much as hang a myth on.” John Jeremiah Sullivan investigates more mysterious musicians in The New York Times Magazine. Bonus: You can listen to their music as you read. For more of Sullivan’s music journalism, read his piece on the origins of ska.
“The literature by Vietnamese and Vietnamese-Americans is out there for anyone who knows how to use Google. But so many here and abroad would rather not know, or when a new Vietnamese author is published, would prefer to say, ‘At last! A voice for the Vietnamese!’ In fact, there are so many voices, for the Vietnamese people are very loud.” Pulitzer Prize winner and Year in Reading alumnus Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer) writes in The New York Times about the diversity of Vietnamese writing, too often ignored in favor of war narratives and the voices of American veterans. (For an incredible syllabus of books to fill in the gaps, see the middle of his piece.)
Ta-Nehisi Coates isn’t exactly sure why white people love his book so much. It is indisputable that they do love it, though; Coates’ Between the World and Me is a runaway bestseller and he is also the recipient of one of this year’s MacArthur Foundation “Genius grants.”
If consecutive profiles in The New York Times and The New York Review of Books are any indication, the reopening of Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre is a very big deal. To celebrate from the comfort of your chair, however, you can listen to the overture from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky‘s opera The Voyevoda, which opened in the Bolshoi in 1869.
Out this week: The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder; Burning Down the House by Jane Mendelsohn; Stork Mountain by Miroslav Penkov; Shelter by Jung Yun; Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton; and The North Water by Ian McGuire. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.