It’s raining cats and dogs and spiders and frogs and scarlet worms and fish. No, really. It is.
Why should a college student major in English? It’s a question with hundreds of answers, but one of the most common is that reading, more so than other activities, makes you a better person. It sharpens your mind and hones your sense of morality. But what if this comforting idea — as close as you can get to a conviction held by all writers — has little to no basis in reality?
“Everywhere in the language of this collection is the deliberate and sustained glorification of the human. Long after his 11 months in what he calls the Lager (Auschwitz III), as a survivor, Primo Levi understands evil as not only banal but unworthy of our insight – even of our intelligence, for it reveals nothing interesting or compelling about itself.” Toni Morrison on The Complete Works of Primo Levi in The Guardian.
Penguin is putting out snazzy, mesmerizing, jacket-less hardcover editions of a number of classics. These remind of the old books on my parents’ shelves. You won’t be able to get your hands on these for a few months though.
Franzen fans: Freedom, the long-awaited follow-up to The Corrections is now available for pre-order. The specs: 576 pages, August 31st 2010. “Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom’s intensely realized characters as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.”
This is exciting: Roxane Gay’s debut novel An Untamed State is headed for the screen. Gina Prince-Bythewood will direct and Gugu Mbatha-Raw will star in the film adaptation of Gay’s novel, which tells the story of a Haitian-American woman captured for ransom in front of her husband and child. Check out this Millions review of the book to get a better sense of just how great it is.
Out this week: Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson; Shining Sea by Anne Korkeakivi; White Nights in Split Town City by Annie DeWitt; War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans; How to Party with an Infant by Kaui Hart Hemmings; Arrowood by Laura McHugh; and The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.