Recommended Reading: An excerpt from Jesmyn Ward’s new memoir, Men We Reaped. “This is the summer of the year 2000. This is the last summer that I will spend with my brother. This is the heart. This is. Every day, this is.” Pair with: The New York Times profile of Ward.
How do women write about the apocalypse? Sloane Crosley considers, referencing work from Mary Shelley, P.D. James, Laura van den Berg and our own Emily St. John Mandel. Pair with these Millions interviews with van den Berg and Mandel. Unfortunately, Mary Shelley was unavailable for comment.
At Bookforum, Alexander Benaim reads the latest novel by Jess Row, which I wrote about as part of our most recent book preview. The novel poses a charged, intriguing question: what would happen if it were possible to change your race? (It might also be a good time to read the author’s Year in Reading entry along with our own Mark O'Connell's review of the novel at Slate.)
There are reality TV shows for aspiring designers, singers, and chefs, so what about writers? The Italian reality show Masterpiece will pit writers against each other in competition for a book deal. As judge Giancarlo De Cataldo said, “The book is dying, and we must do everything we can to save it. Even a talent show.” We expect a lot of dramatic crying at typewriters.
Recommended reading: The Awl takes a look at the "attempt to create a completely logical, absolutely universal language," which goes about as well as you'd expect (read: not very).