A few days ago, our own Kaulie Lewis pointed readers to a LARB essay about Geoff Dyer, which nicely complemented a piece about the author our own Mark O’Connell wrote for Slate back in June. Now, at Full-Stop, David Burr Gerard suggests that Dyer’s strengths, which worked so well in Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, may have hampered him in Another Great Day at Sea. FYI, our own Janet Potter reviewed the latter book for The Millions.
Year in Reading contributor Kevin Smokler’s new essay collection, Practical Classics, explores the benefits of revisiting the first books you read (even if you hated them). In fact, the difficult and excruciating books have a particular value. “Books aren’t all supposed to be our best friends,” says Smokler in a new Rumpus interview. “Sometimes they’re supposed to be that difficult friend who encourages us to do things that we don’t feel are rational or grown-up.”
“Sandberg does not mention pleasure. Sandberg assumes instead that the feminist question is simply, how can I be a more successful worker?…Sandberg has penned not so much a new Feminine Mystique as an updated Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.” At Dissent, Kate Losse, herself a former Facebook employee, critiques Sheryl Sandberg’s new and controversial Lean In.
“Soldiers eat beef teriyaki and chicken cavatelli M.R.E.s in a war zone where ‘armored ruins’ line the roads, ‘charred corpses scattered in among the blasted metal’; and sniper fire and I.E.D. ambushes are a constant threat: ‘the chaos out there, the crazy Arabic writing and abu-jabba jabber, the lawless traffic, the hidden danger and buzz and stray bullets and death looming from every overpass.'” Michiko Kakutani reviews Roy Scranton’s War Porn for The New York Times. Here’s an old review from The Millions that shares a bit of Scranton’s lingering sentiment regarding the war.