Carve out some time to watch all forty-five minutes of Zadie Smith and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s recent “Between the Lines” conversation if you want to find out why Americanah qualifies as Adichie’s “fuck you” book. (You can also just skip to the 16:16 mark if you’re unable to carve out enough time.)
After earning herself a “test run” writer’s residency aboard an Amtrak train, Jessica Gross reflects on the virtues and benefits of writing by railcar. Meanwhile, Alexander Chee announces he’ll be writing on the rails from New York City to Portland this Spring. You can read some more information about the program over here.
So does literature really have the power to bring liberals and conservatives together? Probably not. Either way, this is still a fascinating study: “The ‘most startling result was this: it was conservative — not liberal — readers who are most active in producing this space of cultural compromise.’ Basically, within this sample size, conservative readers tended to exude more generous praise for ‘bridge books’ and did so with a vernacular considered to be ‘less heated or emotional.’ Grammatically, they also expressed ‘more complex thoughts.'”
You may have heard that Jess Row has a new book on shelves. The plot follows a man who undergoes a surgical procedure to change his race. In an interview at Guernica, the author talks to Grace Bello about writing and race, teaching in Hong Kong and what it means to grow up in Baltimore. You could also read the author’s Year in Reading entry.