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.)
John Jeremiah Sullivan writes about heritage, history, literature, and the Emerald Isle in this piece for The New York Times Magazine, “My Debt to Ireland.” In the essay, Sullivan talks about the Aran Islands, and in particular Dún Aonghasa. On our Tumblr, I’ve shared some photos I took at the place.
The third volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard‘s My Struggle was released on Tuesday. In a recent review for The Daily Beast, Ted Gioia argues that “we read [My Struggle] with horror and delight, because the protagonist—who is Karl Ove Knausgaard himself—is determined to reveal every embarrassing and shameful detail of his past life. Imagine a literary novel with grand Proustian ambitions, but combined with the ethos of those creepy Jackass-type reality shows in which contestants get a dose of renown by making fools of themselves. That’s the spirit of My Struggle.” For a second opinion, be sure to check out our own review of the novel’s earlier installments.
Michael Kimball wants to save you $50,000 dollars on an MFA – by sharing what’s he taught himself. Interested in reading more from someone without a traditional writing degree? Our own Hannah Gersen explains “The Value of Writing Programs: On Why I Don’t Have an MFA.”
Nobody needs reminding that Yeats was a major poet, but it can be easy to forget, a hundred years of his major work, just why his poetry has endured. In The Irish Times, Denis O’Donoghue makes a forceful case for Yeats’s relevance, arguing that “Yeats solved, or came closer than any other modern poet in English to solving, the problem that defeated so many of his contemporaries: how to reconcile the claims of common speech, morally responsible, with the insisted-on autonomy of the poem.”
Theoretically, it pays to get a novel on Amazon’s best seller list. In reality, though, a bestselling novel doesn’t make as much in cold hard cash as you’d think.
Out this week: Modern Lovers by Emma Straub; Some Possible Solutions by Helen Phillips; The Gallery of Lost Species by Nina Berkhout; Robert Parris Moses by Laura Visser-Maessen; Hot Little Hands by Abigail Ulman; and The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.