Out this week: A Place in the Country by W.G. Sebald; Europe in Sepia by Dubravka Ugresic; The Book of Heaven by Patricia Storace; Chance by Kem Nunn; and new paperback editions of Norman Mailer’s Ancient Evenings and Tough Guys Don’t Dance.
Mama Hope, a group that works with local African organizations “to connect them with the resources required to transform their own communities,” has released a great promo featuring four young men who are tired of Hollywood’s African stereotypes. Their complaints are reminiscent of those enumerated in Binyavanga Wainaina’s classic essay “How to Write about Africa,” and also in Laura Seay’s great article from last week, “How Not to Write About Africa.”
Geoff Nicholson of the New York Times compares the rules of drinking and the rules of writing in light of the recent reissue of famous cocktail guide The Hour (with a new introduction by Daniel Handler, otherwise known as Lemony Snicket).
Was Miami made for the mystery novel? The most iconic mysteries and detective novels are anchored firmly in their sense of place, and no place is more hospitable to commodifiable crime and violence than sunny South Beach. If it’s more Florida weirdness you’re after, look no further than our own Nick Moran.
As you may have heard, this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of Sylvia Plath. It also, not coincidentally, marks the release of two new biographies: American Isis (the first to draw material from the recently-opened Ted Hughes archive) and Mad Girl’s Love Song (which looks at the poet’s relationship with her “big, dark, hunky boy”). Emma Garman weighs the impact of all this new scholarship at Salon.
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about this year’s Brandeis commencement, at which New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier argued that the humanities are under siege in America. In this week’s issue of Prospect Magazine, Malcolm Nicholson interviews Wieseltier, who claims that “we live in a culture of worthless praise.”