New this week: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, Carnival by Rawi Hage, In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell, Children of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani, the collected letters of Italo Calvino, and the seventh issue of McSweeney’s food mag Lucky Peach.
Caitlin Flanagan's long Atlantic piece on Joan Didion has sparked a lot of conversation. Among the article's contentious lines: "to really love Joan Didion ... you have to be female."
The New York Times best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell recognizes that printed books can be beautiful, covetable objects that enhance the experience of reading. He hired Brian Rea, a frequent Times Magazine illustrator, and Paul Sahre, a designer who also frequently contributes to the magazine, to collaborate on the visuals for a new box set, Malcolm Gladwell: Collected.
Having kids changes everything, of course, but for the writer, used to working in quiet solitude, it can feel like the end. Jessica Francis Kane writes about how she learned to write again, in a new way, after having children and offers some tips for new parents who write.
"The physical purpose of reproduction is, obviously, the continuation and renewal of genetic continuity, human survival. Its psychological purpose seems to me to be a particularly poignant kind of mutual learning and, matters being equal, ineffable comfort." What is the relationship between being an artist and being a parent? Maria Popova at Brain Pickings takes a look at sculptor Anne Truitt's collected journals, Daybook, to try and suss out an answer.
Maybe you’re a speed-reader or maybe you’re a psychic who plans their reading lists months ahead of time. Those are the only two possible scenarios by which you may have finished reading all of the books on this year’s Man Booker Long List. And if that’s the case, it’s time to get started on The Guardian’s “Not The Booker” Long List.
Why does the mythological connection between suffering and creativity persist? Writers and other artists, AL Kennedy contends, should spend less time intent on suffering and more time intent on making things. See also our own Sonya Chung, on the new writerly happiness.