The essay is more than just a literary genre but a lifestyle, and it’s dominating American society, Christy Wampole argues. “The genre and its spirit provide an alternative to the dogmatic thinking that dominates much of social and political life in contemporary America,” she writes.
“[G]uess what, spending hours of your spare time plowing through some dense and symbol-laden carnival of affectation and ambiguity only makes you resentful of the publishing industry that pushed the book on you in the first place.” Alex Balk at The Awl takes the piss out of recent studies that have suggested reading literary fiction might make us better people. Writer John Vaillant, whom we interviewed last year, might disagree.
Actor and comedian Steve Martin‘s album The Crow: New Songs for the Five String Banjo has been nominated for six International Bluegrass Music Association Awards. Listen to tracks from the album and read more about Martin’s musical side at NPR.
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“As I got older, the Nigerian scam artist turned into a meme. The ‘Nigerian prince’ became a joke tossed around by white people with the same ease that ‘Italian mobster’ jokes were likely tossed around in the ‘70s—but aided now by the internet. Whenever I came across casual references to my people as scam artists, I’d wince. There was more to us than the scam. Hell—there was even more to the scam.” On how novelist Teju Cole helped Ijeoma Oluo make peace with the Nigerian scam artist.
“‘So your idea is to drive across America and write about it without talking to a single American?’ ‘Yes.'” Karl Ove Knausgaard travels North America as “a tongue-in-cheek Tocqueville” for the New York Times Magazine. Pair with his piece for The Millions, “The View from My Window is a Constant Reminder,” and with Jonathan Callahan‘s reading of Knausgaard’s My Struggle.
“I’ve spent my whole professional life swirling the eddies of the margins… What I want right now is to see my book in an airport. Then in a couple of years everyone will figure out that I’m too esoteric, and I’ll be back…” The New York Times posts a curious interview with the unconventional Jaimy Gordon, winner of this year’s National Book Award.
“F. Scott Fitzgerald is known as one of America’s greatest authors, but was he also responsible for one of football’s most important strategic advances? Maybe. Possibly. Probably not.” Kevin Draper writes about Fitzgerald’s love and possible genius for the game.
“[S]he and her sister should not be affected by the riot. Riots like this were what she read about in newspapers. Riots like this were what happened to other people.” The Guardian runs ‘A Private Experience,’ a short story from Year-in-Reading alum Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.