Last month, in a review for The Millions, Chris Barsanti called George Packer’s The Unwinding an “awe-inspiring X-Ray of the modern American soul.” Now, in The Guardian, Sukhdev Sandhu calls the book “decent, meticulous and concerned,” though it could have benefited from the “roiling prose-fire of Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi.”
This week brought news that NOX, Antigonick, and Red Doc> author Anne Carson is headed to Annandale-on-Hudson to become Bard College’s “Visiting Distinguished Writer in Residence.” Carson’s praise has been sung far and wide on The Millions, and even earned admiration from a pair of Janes: both Alison and Hirshfield.
Our review of A Widow's Story took Joyce Carol Oates to task for not mentioning that she had remarried not long after the death of her husband. In the New York Review of Books, Julian Barnes recently made the same point. Responding to the Barnes review, Oates defended her choice, but diplomatically added, "In retrospect I can see that I should have added something like an appendix."
At The New Yorker, Sarah Miller humorously learns why only positive book reviews might be a bad thing. "If St. Petersburg is the Little Engine That Could of city names, then the main character, Raskolnikov, is the Little Engine That Could of elderly pawnbroker murderers," she writes in her review of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment.
Recommended viewing: Open Culture has tracked down two animated adaptations of Dostoevksy's work. There's one of his short story "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man" "in full-on existentialist mode," and slightly more ambitious (though dramatically abridged) short film of Crime and Punishment.
The Atlantic on George Carlin's seven dirty words as they turn 40 years old. You can watch a 1978 performance on YouTube, if you've never heard the routine. Maybe put the headphones on, though, as the language is, as you might expect, deliciously filthy, so yeah, NSFW.
"But was I actually reading? I regarded myself as a reader, but were these really books?" In LitHub, James Tate Hill pens an essay about reading while visually impaired and the questions it raises in a print book obsessed world. Pair with: our own Bill Morris on hearing an actor narrate his novel's audiobook.