American Short Fiction’s managing editor Jess Stoner is reading local newspapers from one state a week and reporting on the big headlines in a better attempt to understand America. As she puts it, “Not to snark, not to make fun of people from unincorporated towns who write letters to the editor, but to share with you a more complicated, less yell-y look at where we are, with the hopes of better understanding where we might be headed.” The first state is Alabama.
As e-books gain market share, publishers are gussying up book designs. Free Press vice president and publisher Martha K. Levin says, “the message [is] that even if you’re buying 90 percent of your books on your e-reader, this is the one that you want to have on your bookshelf.” The article highlights 1Q84 as an example of a successfully well-designed physical object, but if you haven’t seen a copy, check out Chip Kidd’s discussion of his work on the book.
Fellow children of the ‘90s will remember how much that decade was a kind of Golden Age for disaster movies. Then as now, explosive blockbusters like Independence Day, Twister and Dante’s Peak satisfied a collective appetite for wide-scale destruction and mayhem. At The Morning News, Ethan Gilsdorf considers what the genre’s evolution has to say about us.
Would you like your man-steak with green peppercorn sauce? At the LRB, Jenny Diski on Catalin Avramescu‘s Intellectual History of Cannibalism.
“There is a saying that has become a cliché: ‘Pictures speak louder than words.’ But sometimes, a picture can speak louder than words because it contains a profound silence. It’s what a picture does not say that can often make it loud. What is, after all, a wordless novel but a novel devoted to the message of silence?” On Frans Masereel‘s My Book of Hours, a wordless novel in woodcuts. For another, lighter perspective on the power of picture books, pair with Jacob Lambert‘s “Yet Again, I Ask: Are Picture Books Leading Our Children Astray?“
Joshua Cohen, author of the just-published meganovel Witz, dispenses provocations in The New York Observer: “The targets might be Michael Chabon, Jonathan Safran Foer, Shalom Auslander… When I started this book, I wanted to sleep with their wives. By the time I finished, I wanted to sleep with their mothers.”