“When someone asks me how I know someone and I say ‘the Internet,’ there is often a subtle pause, as if I had revealed we’d met through a benign but vaguely kinky hobby, like glassblowing class, maybe. The first generation of digital natives are coming of age, but two strangers meeting online is still suspicious…” Ah, the halcyon days of 2004 and internet anonymity.
"To use the lingo of their era, these novels are square. The protagonists have names like Jane and Barbara; they are not the misfits of which much teen literature is made but instead fundamentally good girls who long to fit in, and usually do ... Viewed through the lens of contemporary culture, and especially contemporary teen lit, these girls should be boring and shallow. But Beverly Cleary’s supposedly ordinary girls are complex: resentful of their mothers one moment and sympathetic toward them the next, willing to do anything for one special boy but indignant when they’re taken for granted." On the unexpectedly complex nature of Beverly Cleary's boring protagonists with Ruth Graham at Slate.
Out this week: Autonomous by Annalee Newitz; Sun in Days by Meghan O'Rourke; The Good People by Hannah Kent; The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs by Janet Peery; and The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
“The day is spent for the most part in a glorious solitude. Like the hunter who moves silently through the woods to check his traps, she moves through the library, cautiously avoiding those whom she knows. A single conversation would ruin the beauty and vastness of her silence. Today no such conversation occurs and she is happy.” Good luck not reading this narration of a graduate student’s life in the voice of director Werner Herzog, now. Here’s a great Herzog Millions piece, as well.
You've probably heard the internet adage, "If it exists, there is a porn of it." Never has that been truer than in the case of the political erotica of 2016. From a particularly colorful Cruz/Rubio series: “'Who is this Hillary you’ve been texting?' Rubio asks Cruz. 'Saying things like ‘meet me when Marco’s not home,’ ‘I can hook you up,’ ‘what’s the price’ … don’t act all naïve right now!'"
Every year, like clockwork, a few brave administrators ban a classic book in time for the opprobrium of Banned Books Week. This year, the brave administrators in question work in Randolph County, NC, where Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison will no longer be on the curriculum. Why? Real quote: it’s a “hard read.” (Related: Kelsey McKinney on banning The Bluest Eye.)
Sergeant Ed Drew's tintypes of the war in Afghanistan are the first tintypes made in a combat zone since The Civil War. Drew made them for his son. "I wanted him to know his father in the event that I was killed in action and it became less important that my work was done in tintype than that I could show the humanity of war in the eyes of airmen I fly combat missions with," he said.