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.”
James Baldwin was more famous for being an essayist and novelist, but he was also a film critic. At The Atlantic, Noah Berlatsky argues that Baldwin should be considered one of the best film critics for The Devil Finds Work. “Baldwin shows that criticism is art, which means that it doesn’t need a purpose or a rationale other than truth, or beauty, or keeping faith, or doing whatever it is we think art is trying to do.” For more on Baldwin, read our essay on his epiphanies.
The New York Times Magazine published an excerpt of the latest novel by Dave Eggers. The book, titled The Circle, follows Mae Holland, a woman who takes a job at a Google-esque company dubbed “the most influential in the world.” At Reuters, Felix Salmon critiques the book’s take on Silicon Valley.
Today, stuff yourself on envy and/or nostalgia for the NYC literary life. First, whet your appetite on the New Yorker’s gorgeous illustrations of notable bookstores, including one “the size of a luxurious Park Avenue closet.” Continue to a responsible main course essay on Choire Sicha, The Awl, and the Brooklyn loft building where it was founded and resides: a place that is “pleasant” but “a little dumpy, too, because that’s sort of our MO.” For dessert, savor Erin Loeb’s personal essay on leaving New York, and finish with a fittingly varied cheese course of other writers also saying goodbye.
“Stories are born unconsciously, but I think the writer determines whether the turn a book has taken is true or false through feeling, which is conscious. I shape my stories in this or that way because the story answers something that is emotionally rather than literally true for me.” At Full-Stop, Siri Hustvedt talks fiction with Tyler Malone.
A week after it wins the Booker, Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall is now on American shelves. Jonathan Lethem’s newest Chronic City comes out today. Dave Eggers’ novelization of a movie based on a children’s book, Wild Things is out in standard and special fur-covered editions. A Lydia Davis-translated French “masterpiece” is out today from NYRB Classics.