Though it’s long been known as the gentleman’s sport, tennis seems to be slipping a little bit in its cultural refinement. Melville House has a blog post on the reading habits of elite players, and they’re spotty at best, though Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche and Camus are all mentioned, as are J.K. Rowling, Tolkien and, simply, “newspapers.”
In the latest issue of The Walrus, Casey Plett reads a number of books involving transgender people, critiquing several aspects of their depictions. Along with the essay, she provides a list of transgender novels everyone should read, including Nevada by Imogen Binnie and Wanting in Arabic by Trish Salah.
Our own Garth Risk Hallberg’s City on Fire is almost here. While we wait, read Boris Kachka’s profile of Hallberg for Vulture, about the expectation surrounding his highly anticipated 944-page debut novel and the experience of writing a book that is “unpublishably long.” We’ll be publishing our own illuminating interview with Hallberg on Monday.
“Since the middle of the 20th century, the academy has conditioned us to stay grounded within texts and steer clear of writers’ biographies for insights while biographers are often timid about the kind of playful speculation that we can undertake here in Slate. Readers, myself included, tend to wonder about the sources for characters the likes of Kurtz, Sherlock Holmes, and Jay Gatsby—larger-than-life, mysterious, existing on a kind of separate plane—and in doing so we are continuing the quests of the narrators who tried first (Marlow, Watson, and Carraway).” Matthew Pearl asks: was Robert Louis Stevenson the blueprint for Conrad‘s Kurtz?
“There is no divorcing the lack of diversity in the outdoors from a history of violence against the black body, systemic racism, and income inequality,” writes Rahawa Haile in her description of hiking the full length of the Appalachian Trail. Along the way, Haile documented her journey and the books she carried — books written by black authors. In a debrief interview, she explains her motivation: “I want[ed] to bring these books places no one likely has. I want[ed] to document where black brilliance belongs.”