In her new book, Hard-Core Romance, Eva Illouz has published the first serious, book-length academic analysis of the Fifty Shades of Grey. The critically-panned Fifty Shades trilogy, originally a Twilight fan fiction, has sold 32 million copies in the US so far. At The New Republic, William Giraldi seizes the opportunity for a brutal send-up of author E. L. James and the “dreck” she represents. “At least people are reading,” he writes, “You’ve no doubt heard that before. But we don’t say of the diabetic obese, At least people are eating.” Pair with The Millions’ essay on literary predecessors in published fan fiction.
This past Sunday the American Library Association gave out the first Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction to Robert K. Massie’s Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman and Anne Enright’s The Forgotten Waltz. Also be sure to check out our interview with Enright.
Serious reading is harder than ever. With so many distractions around, it’s incredibly difficult for a novel to keep our attention. In The Nation, Joanna Scott makes a case that careful reading is in danger, and builds a case for preserving difficult fiction. You could also read our own Nick Ripatrazone on trying to teach Thomas Pynchon.
“The late 1920s found him in Hollywood (‘This place is loathsome’) drowning, stingless, in MGM honey, while doing hack work on a silly Marion Davies vehicle. His descriptions of reptilian studio fauna make for delicious reading.” At The Daily Beast, a look at P.G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters.
People Who Eat Darkness author Richard Lloyd Parry’s forthcoming book on the Tōhoku earthquake and its aftermath, Ghosts of the Tsunami, will be released some time in late summer/early fall, and BBC Radio put together a 30-minute teaser to tide you over until then. You can also check out Parry’s moving yet unsettling piece for the London Review of Books.