Sometimes, it’s easier to read or watch something that’s light and airy, as opposed to seeking out art that challenges your perspective. Millions contributor Fiona Maazel generally thinks of herself as a person who instinctively chose nuance over breeziness. But lately, she’s had to ask herself a tough question — is she actually more attracted to the anodyne?
This is an interview in which five-year-old Desmond and eight-year-old Everett ask some hard-hitting questions of M. Quint regarding her new book The Defiant, and in which Jonathan Lethem makes a brief cameo to helpfully facilitate the discussion–do you need any more reason to read this piece? Here’s a quick hit from C. Max Magee, creator of The Millions, on giving the classics to kids.
How do readers recover from an abominable weekend but with a reading list, in this case one suggested on Twitter by Jay Varner, a writer and instructor based in Charlottesville. Varner links out to 12 articles about “why so many continue to believe an unequivocally false historical narrative surrounding the Confederacy,” including pieces by New Orleans’ mayor Mitch Landrieu, Slate‘s Jamelle Bouie, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose Between the World and Me made our roundup from last year of the best political fiction (yes, we do realize it’s decidedly not fiction).
From 1916 to 1925, the University of Mississippi paid William Faulkner for drawings he published in the school newspaper, Ole Miss. At Open Culture, you can see some of these drawings, which struck this writer as peculiarly un-Faulknerian. (Related: our own Nick Moran found recordings of Faulkner on the University of Virginia website.) (h/t The Paris Review)
“He believed it a privilege and a shame that his race and nationality gave him the chance to come and go from lands where a guillotine blade seemed to dangle forever over the local citizens.” Denis Johnson‘s longtime Esquire editor Will Blythe pens a remembrance of the writer for The New York Times. See also: our own Sonya Chung‘s recommendation of Johnson’s celebrated short story collection Jesus’ Son to a friend some years back. “I know it will knock him out,” she wrote. “It does (of course).”
When most baseball players retire, they manage other teams, but Derek Jeter will manage a publishing imprint. The shortstop will open a publishing company, Jeter Publishing, in a partnership with Simon & Schuster. He expects to publish middle-grade fiction, children’s picture books, adult nonfiction, and books for children learning how to read. The first title should hit shelves in 2014. Maybe this could have been a good backup career for The Art of Fielding’s Henry Skrimshander.