“I could measure my progress with metrics like number of scabs collected, number of inches ollied,” writes Nick Courage, in his great piece about rediscovering skateboarding in his thirties. “There was an objective truth to the sport; unlike my writing, my powerslides were self-validating.”
The essay is more than just a literary genre but a lifestyle, and it’s dominating American society, Christy Wampole argues. “The genre and its spirit provide an alternative to the dogmatic thinking that dominates much of social and political life in contemporary America,” she writes.
We’ve covered the Atlantic series By Heart a number of times before. It features notable authors writing about their favorite passages. In the latest edition, Mary-Beth Hughes picks out a paragraph from Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Blue Flower, about a poet who’s trying to cope with grief. Sample quote: “Reading Fitzgerald, I felt it was possible to write as I’d experienced dancing.”
Hat tip to Melville House’s Dustin Kurtz for sharing The Gates Notes with the world. Now you can read real book reviews written by America’s wealthiest man. That’s almost as good as reading real book reviews written by one of the world’s most powerful conservative fundraisers.
How can science fiction writers invent aliens and entire planets but not include multifaceted characters of color in their fiction? At The Atlantic, Noah Berlatsky discusses the genre’s equality problem and analyzes how race is viewed in everything from The Left Hand of Darkness to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. “When that future unthinkingly reproduces current inequities, it seems like both a missed opportunity and a failure of imagination.”
In a move that will likely become more and more common, The Weinstein Company has inked a deal with Netflix to license some of its latest (and most critically acclaimed) films to Instant Watch instead of traditional cable outlets. Coriolanus, Undefeated, and The Artist will be among the first titles released. Elsewhere, Vanity Fair profiles Netflix’s “bloody but only slightly bowed” CEO, Reed Hastings.