The Above Average team animated an adaptation of George Saunders’s Syracuse University commencement speech, “The Importance of Kindness.” (You can read the original over here.) The speech has since been expanded, and it was published this past week.
Millions writer Sonya Chung has a trenchant essay up at Huffington Post on the topic of writing and motherhood: “Art Before Life: Questioning the Parenthood Question.”
New this week is The Tiger’s Wife, the hotly anticipated debut of Téa Obreht, the youngest of the New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 from last year. Also new in the fiction aisle is Carol Edgarian’s Three Stages of Amazement. David Brooks’s latest pop sociology effort The Social Animal is now out — this one, excerpted in the New Yorker — sets itself apart from similar tomes by illustrating its findings through a pair of fictional characters. Now out in paperback are National Book Award winner Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon, Ian McEwan’s Solar, and Rebecca Skloot’s non-fiction blockbuster The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
“A vast human action is going on. Death watches. So if you have some happiness, conceal it. And when your heart is full, keep your mouth shut also.” Saul Bellow saw a bit of resurgence this year with the publication of his collected non-fiction, There Is Simply Too Much to Say. Why do we need him now more than ever? According to Michael Weiss at The Daily Beast, it’s because he has “a bit of the opposition in him.” This essay is exhaustive and thoroughly researched and well worth your time.
Sonia Faleiro takes a look at the “book boys of Mumbai” who participate in India’s quasi-illegal pirated book market. (It’s an issue also discussed in Akshay Pathak’s most recent dispatch on Indian publishing.) Faleiro notes that books often appear on the streets as soon as they’re released to stores – and also that by 1999, as much as “20 to 25 percent of all books sold in the country were pirated.” Meanwhile, the former production editor in me wonders, how the heck are they re-printing these books so quickly?
Jack Gilbert died yesterday at the age of 87. Gilbert was the author of five standalone poetry collections—as well as additional collected volumes such as last March’s Collected Poems—and he was also a past winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award. For The LA Times, John Penner reviews the poet’s legacy. Or, perhaps as fitting tribute to Gilbert’s life and work, better to hear his own final lines to the poem “Failing and Flying”: “I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell, / but just coming to the end of his triumph.”