Tim Parks investigates the idea of “writing to death” in the cases of Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, Anton Chekhov, Charles Dickens and William Faulkner. “So many of the writers I have looked at seem permanently torn between irreconcilable positions,” Parks writes. “Eventually, the dilemma driving the work either leads to death, or is neutralized in a way that prolongs life but dulls the writing” (Bonus: Our own Mark O’Connell just reviewed Parks’s latest book, Italian Ways.)
Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio photographed 30 families in 24 countries, each time surrounding their subjects with their weekly food purchases. Their work was collected in their What the World Eats photo album, but you can take a look at some of their pictures over here.
The office novel, by nature, is a tricky construct, if only because your average white-collar job doesn’t offer much in the way of fiction-worthy moments. That said, recent books like Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris demonstrate how fruitful it can be to wring drama out of the rat race. In the latest issue of Dissent, Cubed author Nikil Saval delves into the contradictions of office fiction. FYI, Saval wrote a Year in Reading entry for us.
"My wife likes to drive. I like to read aloud. So, she takes me places, and I take her places. It’s a match made in heaven — or at least in a Honda." In honor of World Read Aloud Day, book critic Ron Charles writes about his love of reading out loud for the Washington Post. Pair with: an essay about the importance of reading aloud as adults.