For the most part, the scariest thing you can do in a choose your own adventure book is choose to enter a cave. At The Toast, Mallory Ortberg shows us what choose your own adventure would’ve looked like if it were historically accurate. “It is daytime. Turn to page 19. Page 19: You have died in childbirth.”
“I just didn’t see the textual evidence for it. If Mark Twain wanted to make somebody black, he would make them black. He was not shy about dealing with matters of race.” For The New Yorker, Mythili G. Rao on the complicated backstory to the upcoming publication of The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine, a “new” children’s book by Mark Twain. See also: our consideration of Twain’s self-deprecating travelogue The Innocents Abroad.
This week, Football Book Club is taking it to the next level: They’re reading Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts and posting about Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half. If you’re keeping score at home, that means this week is All Brosh, All the Time. Also, as per usual, they will not be watching the NFL and not liking it one bit.
Out this week: Thomas Murphy by Roger Rosenblatt; The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome by Serge Brussolo; Weathering by Lucy Wood; Remains by Jesús Castillo; and What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell (which we reviewed). For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
In an excerpt of Out of Time, a new book on “the pleasures and perils of ageing,” author Lynne Segal makes a case that many iconic male writers — among them Philip Roth, John Updike and Martin Amis — display in their works a belief that the slow loss of virility is one of the most tragic effects of growing older for men. Citing passages from Toward the End of Time and Portnoy’s Complaint, she finds evidence that these writers’ depictions of masculinity reveal “obdurate social hierarchies of gender and ageing.” (Related: Keith Meatto on advice you can glean from Philip Roth’s work.)