“When you go to Narnia, your worries come with you. Narnia just becomes the place where you work them out and try to resolve them.” Lev Grossman writes for The Atlantic about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and why fantasy isn’t escapism. Pair with our own Edan Lepucki‘s review of Grossman’s latest novel, The Magician’s Land.
“Of all the literary genres, poetry has proved the most resistant to digital technology, not for stodgy cultural reasons but for tricky mechanical ones.” Looks like that might be changing, however, as Open Road releases Flow Chart, Your Name Here and 15 other John Ashbery digital poetry collections.
“An appeal for the revival of the negative book review, then, is a remonstration against forced and foppish praise, where everything is good and so nothing at all is good.” In The Baffler, Rafia Zakaria writes in praise of negative book reviews and decries the “enfeebling of literary criticism.” From our archives: our own Emily St. John Mandel writes about bad book reviews.
“I feel very transparent to myself. I’m more like an observer. I’m interested in what’s going on. I’m not sure that I really have a personality,” Joyce Carol Oates said in The New Yorker’s micro documentary about her writing life and routine. Pair with: our essay on Oates’ The Accursed.
For every reader who grew up enamored with LeVar Burton‘s now-cancelled PBS show, Reading Rainbow, there’s fresh hope. A Kickstarter campaign to create a spin-off, web-based version of Reading Rainbow that aims to spread literacy to children in under-served schools was launched yesterday and has already received a significant portion of its funding goal. While there are some concerns about the project, the nostalgia factor is incredibly strong, and who doesn’t want to spread the love of reading to children?
“They are both popular and literary and seem to have no problem standing with a foot in each category.” For The Paris Review, our own Adam O’Fallon Price writes about the “unambiguous sophistication” of Curtis Sittenfeld‘s writing—which is often regulated to the world of “chick lit”—and her new short story collection, You Think It, I’ll Say It. (Read our interview with Sittenfeld.)
“The art style also changes from chapter to chapter — some panels fill the pages to the edges and are overwhelming in their dark palette; some seem ordinary in proportion, confident; others fill the space around small figures with words, words, words; and others still have a minimalist, sketch-like quality and barely occupy the page at all — and they aren’t always chapters, or even stories, in the traditional sense.” On MariNaomi’s Dragon’s Breath and Other Stories.
“In a just world, every single person who was in favor of invading Iraq would have to read this book. It would be tattooed on the eyes of the invasion’s architects, force them to see everything through these writers’ words.” NPR reviews Iraq + 100: Stories from Another Iraq, a collection in which 10 Iraqi authors imagine their country 100 years into the future. See also our own review of literature about the war.