The New York Times recently asked Jennifer Szalai and Mohsin Hamid why there isn’t a Great American Novel written by a woman? Both writers concluded that there is no such thing as the Great American Novel. “But if the idea of the Great American Novel is blinding us to exquisite fiction written by women, then perhaps its harm is exceeding its usefulness,” Hamid wrote. We think that’s a bit of a cop out. But a few women showed up on our list of the Greatest American Novels.
“In the six years that I wrote the book, I moved around a huge amount. I was in five or six different states, and spent a lot of time on the road. I think if you’re out in this country so much, you just see a lot of weird stuff. Weird, ominous stuff.” Talking with Laura van den Berg.
For me, the call of Southern literature comes strongest in the dog days of summer, when the days are long and when the sun is burning. This year, it seems that the literary community has taken note: five representatives from the region’s “great independent bookstores” have gotten together to recommend the Southern books they’re craziest about this year.
"What do these two books have in common?...Open each cover and you will only find similarities: They are the same book." For The Globe and Mail, our own Claire Cameron writes about one book being marketed with two different covers and titles to appeal to different audiences. Pair with: an essay about book covers featuring headless, backless women, and another on the beauty of typewritten book covers.
What does it mean to be cool? According to scholar Joel Dinerstein, it means a person who conveys “relaxed intensity.” Using this definition, Dinerstein and Frank Goodyear III curated a photography exhibition of "American Cool" at National Portrait Gallery. The portraits feature everyone from Joan Didion to David Byrne.
Miranda July's new project, It Chooses You, is a store based on her new book (published by McSweeney’s) of the same name. The store, at Partner’s and Spade in SoHo, is an exercise in buying belongings from New York-area Craigslist sellers and reselling the contents for the exact same price.