Recommended Reading: Zadie Smith’s latest short story, “Moonlit Landscape with Bridge,” at The New Yorker. “The Minister got stuck on a sentence: I am further from my village now than I have ever been. Italicized just like that, in his mind.”
Michael Cunningham, who alongside Maureen Corrigan and Susan Larson sat on the jury of the Pulitzer Prize for for fiction, gives the clearest account yet of how the award process works and defends the three shortlisted titles. His letter is in two parts, he also addresses the function of judgment and begins to build a poetics of literary greatness.
“So a single image can split open the hard seed of the past, and soon memory pours forth from every direction, sprouting its vines and flowers up around you till the old garden’s taken shape in all its fragrant glory.” Read an excerpt from Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir at Longreads. Pair with Beth Kephart’s essay on how memoir can be a conversation between reader and writer.
Last month, in a review for The Millions, Chris Barsanti called George Packer's The Unwinding an “awe-inspiring X-Ray of the modern American soul.” Now, in The Guardian, Sukhdev Sandhu calls the book “decent, meticulous and concerned,” though it could have benefited from the “roiling prose-fire of Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi.”
Three thousand Russians volunteered to proofread “forty-six thousand eight hundred pages” of Leo Tolstoy’s writings over the course of fourteen days. Soon their efforts will be available online for all to see. Meanwhile, Buzzfeed is catching some heat for enlisting the services of unpaid Duolingo students in order to translate site content for Spanish, French, and Brazilian Portuguese readers.
Looking for something to watch this weekend? Got Hulu Plus? Well, start working your way through the veritable treasure trove that is the Criterion Collection. And don’t worry. If you’re as overwhelmed by the selection as I am, this top ten list by filmmaker Dean Peterson can serve as a great guide. Also, for what it’s worth, I’m partial to Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev.
Watching your book be adapted into a film can be a challenge for an author. At Vulture, John Green discusses his involvement in The Fault in Our Stars adaptation, which he has nothing but positive things to say about. "It was a joke on the movie that I cried every day. But I cried every day because they were good every day!" The film's full trailer was released this week, and in case you still haven't read the novel, here's our review.