“…its woman-centredness also hints at feminism’s dirty secret: that feminists might be feminists because they are supremely interested in themselves, even if that interest is in the shape of self-doubt. While Sheila says that it’s great to be a woman because what a female genius should be hasn’t yet been established, that is also the problem of being a woman.” The London Review of Books addresses the problems of Sheila Heti’s How Should A Person Be?. For another perspective, don’t miss our interview with Heti.
Yet another open archive for your summer reading enjoyment: the Baffler ("the Journal that Blunts the Cutting Edge"), as part of a website redesign, has made available its entire back catalog of commentary and fiction. Might I suggest starting with this now-charmingly-antiquated piece on marketing to the youthful "hipster" generation? (The Paris Review has other suggestions. It's hard to go wrong.)
Much fuss was made about Barack Obama’s ex-girlfriends this week, as an excerpt from David Maraniss’ forthcoming Barack Obama: The Story was published in Vanity Fair. Of course, we sophisticated book readers care less about the man’s old flames than we do his literary pursuits, right? That’s why Mr. President’s analysis of T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Wasteland” is so interesting.
Here's something to cheer us up (aside from the good weather this weekend). Publisher's Weekly interviews a few Black bookstore owners on how Black indie bookstores have bounced back from a steep decline several years ago. If a bookstore in your city is mentioned, be sure and visit.
Out this week: Lost for Words by Edward St. Aubyn; Another Great Day at Sea by Year in Reading alum Geoff Dyer; Funny Once by Antonya Nelson; Black Lake by Johanna Lane; Closed Doors by Lisa O’Donnell; Decompression by the German writer Juli Zeh; and J.R.R. Tolkien's translation of Beowulf, published now for the first time. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2014 Book Preview.
"I wanted to be really careful about not pretending to write The Transracial Adoptee’s Experience, because (1) there is no such thing, it’s going to be different for everyone, and (2) I feel strongly that those stories should be told by the adoptees themselves, if they choose to share them," Year in Reading alum Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere, in conversation with Nicole Chung.
Want to catch up on John Updike in a single summer?Dick Cavett reminisces about the time Updike and John Cheever appeared on his talk show... together.Clancy Martin on his failed attempt to become the world's largest maker of Fauxbergé eggs and how he evaded the Russian police.Ward Sutton literalizes the idea of the cartoonish critique at the Barnes & Noble Review. First up: T.C. Boyle's The Women.Street artists smell a conspiracy around the recent arrest of "Hope"-monger Shepard Fairey, the artist formerly known as Giant.On the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran, our friend Porochista Khakpour looks back.WNYC presents streaming audio (mp3 link) of Zadie Smith's NYPL talk on then-President-elect Obama.Fresh Air's Maureen Corrigan raves about Yu Hua's Brothers.More heads roll in the publishing industry.How close did we come to economic apocalypse?Glamorous publishing people: "No, there is no glamour left in publishing."Food for your ears: "The Dinner Party Download is a fast and funny 'booster shot' of unconventional news, cuisine and culture to help you win this weekend's dinner party." Sarah Shun-lien Bynum was a recent guest.Amid stimulus package largess, arts getting left out in the cold.Epilogue, a new mag that marries short writings, art, and music.File under: links you probably don't need to click on