“Back in the 1800s, for instance, when white women began recording their family food traditions, they took credit for their slaves’ handiwork. ‘You owned Sally, you owned her recipe,’ Toni Tipton-Martin reflected on an episode of the podcast Gravy.” At Mother Jones, read about the secret history of black chefs in America.
Over at Electric Literature, John Freeman profiles Year in Reading alumnus Ben Lerner, newly minted MacArthur genius and author of two novels in which “the political opens a path for the personal, just as the personal urges him to engage the political.” Freeman writes, “This blending—of perception and politics—comes right out of how Lerner sees the world in real life.” Pair with Christopher Wood’s Millions review of Lerner’s 10:04.
Over the course of a half-century, Vladimir Nabokov wrote hundreds of letters to his wife Vera, which are being published in book form this week for the first time. Among other things, they reveal the absurd pet names he invented for her (such as Goosykins and Monkeykins) and display Nabokov musing over whether or not to borrow a friend’s castle for the summer. Also worth reading: our own Garth Risk Hallberg on Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor.
If your interest in Siri Hustvedt’s work was piqued by Hannah Gersen’s review of The Blazing World this week, then you’ll be thrilled to learn that the Kindle version of Hustvedt’s earlier novel, Summer Without Men, is available through 4/8 for the low, low price of $3.99.