Zadie Smith could write herself out of a Chinese takeout box, and that’s exactly what she does in her essay on the differences between British and American takeout culture, “Take It Or Leave It,” for The New Yorker. “I don’t think any nation should elevate service to the status of culture.”
The Atlantic interviews Erin Gruwell, a teacher whose methods for teaching her students about prejudice became the basis of a book (and subsequent movie) called The Freedom Writers. Named after a group of bus-riding civil rights activists, the students in her classes wrote lengthy journal entries — many of them relating to their own personal traumas — in order to compare them with diaries by historical figures. Writing journals, Gruwell says, helped her students learn to like schoolwork.
“But was I actually reading? I regarded myself as a reader, but were these really books?” In LitHub, James Tate Hill pens an essay about reading while visually impaired and the questions it raises in a print book obsessed world. Pair with: our own Bill Morris on hearing an actor narrate his novel’s audiobook.
“In the supermarket of names, Gary is a box of day-old donuts on the grab bag table, sitting among the names favored by rising immigrants groups, fearless parents, and people who should be prosecuted for Naming Under the Influence. We are six behind Talon, which I don’t even think is a name. We are nine behind Issac, which I am certain is misspelled. We are forty-three behind Princeton, which won’t look good on your boy’s application to Dartmouth.” Gary Sernovitz writes about Google, “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang,” and the letter G at n+1.
“New York: Ana and Christian explore bondage in the back of a New York City taxi cab. The driver confuses Ana’s safe word for their destination and mistakenly drops them off at the ‘Guggenheim.'” At The Morning News, Sean Tabb imagines how Fifty Shades of Grey could be adapted for every state.
“An ideal essay is hard to define, but easy to point to. An ideal essay mines the “I” in efforts of high exposition. It is driven by a need to testify or witness, and demands the same of its reader. It is a glimpse of something uncomfortably recognizable, a requiem for the quotidian, a look over the newly-gilded edge.” Samantha Tucker Iacovetto writes about “Defining the Ideal Essay” for Brevity’s Nonfiction Blog
The folks at BookRide, the blog of London’s beloved antiquarian bookstore Any Amount Books, have published a handy set of guidelines for curmudgeonly booksellers. When Kyo Maclear visited The Monkey’s Paw in Toronto, it would seem that they had yet to stumble upon this code of curmudgeonly conduct.