Somewhat overshadowed by David Simon’s recent op-ed on the state of modern America (if not capitalism itself) was the news that Wendell Pierce – featured prominently in both The Wire and Treme – secured a book deal for his meditation on Hurricane Katrina and “the effect it had on his family, his life, his memory, and his hometown.”
If you haven’t had a chance to finish perusing the New York Times Style Magazine’s ‘The Greats’ issue make sure you at least find the time to read Dave Eggers profile of Year in Reading alum Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She is on one of their seven covers and if you’ve ever wanted to know about her family and what kind of reading she wants to do more of, this is the interview for you. “‘That boy,” she said, and sighed. She was still thinking about Edwyn. ‘There was something so clean and pure and true about his writing, don’t you think? Increasingly I find that that’s the kind of thing I want to read.'”
Writing for Airship Daily, Freddie Moore provides an overview of ten of her favorite unpublished J. D. Salinger stories. She also shares instructions on how to find – while being careful not to link directly toward – a “207-page trove of 22 out-of-print pieces available online.” This is for the best, considering the relationship between the Catcher in the Rye author, his unpublished works, and U.S. copyright.
If you thought the English language went downhill when the emoticon was introduced, you can blame a 17th-century poet. Editor Levi Stahl found that English poet Robert Herrick used the first emoticon in his 1648 poem “To Fortune.” As Herrick writes, “Tumble me down, and I will sit/ Upon my ruines (smiling yet :)” For more on the potential ruin of language, read Fiona Maazel’s piece on commercial grammar.
“The concept that being American means, by definition, having an ideal that you’ve failed to live up to—that’s another crucial thing I learned from [James Alan] McPherson. It is not a rejection of America for Michelle Obama to note that her daughters are growing up in a house built by slaves. Or a rejection of a white writer to point out that Fitzgerald was a racist. Instead, it is American to admit those facts and to find in that admission a way forward.” On American values, Barack Obama, and the legacy of James Alan McPherson over at The Literary Hub.