Interview, well, interviews Emma Straub on beach reads, vacation, and The Vacationers. Bonus: Elizabeth von Arnim‘s The Enchanted April is mentioned, and if you haven’t already read the book or seen the movie, please do so immediately.
Have novels about love lost their gravitas as women’s liberation and divorce culture have taken over? Adelle Waldman doesn’t think so. In The New Yorker, she defends the timelessness of the marriage plot. “As long as marriage and love and relationships have high stakes for us emotionally, they have the potential to offer rich subject material for novelists, no matter how flimsy or comparatively uninteresting contemporary relationships seem on their surface.” Pair with: Our Jeffrey Eugenides essay on writing The Marriage Plot, which is referenced several times in Waldman’s essay.
The gulf between Picador and every other publishing house continues to yawn in one major aspect: literary playlists. To honor the release of Dylan Jones’s Biographical Dictionary of Popular Music, Justin Hargett put together a list of his “Favorite Covered Songs!” (Previously: the “Marriage Playlist” for Jeffrey Eugenides)
Miranda July – whose new novel, The First Bad Man, is due in January – has developed a smartphone app that “allows one person to deliver a message to another.” The kicker? Someone other than you will deliver the message verbally and in person. (Sounds like she’s probably due before Congress once again.)
“Shouldn’t we all feel a little embarrassed about the fuss we made over 50 Shades of Grey?” Jessa Crispin writes for the Los Angeles Review of Books about E.L. James’ trilogy and some of the longer responses, including Hard-Core Romance, which we briefly covered a few months ago.