You may have heard that our own Bill Morris has a new book on shelves. He talked about it with fellow Millions staff writer and California author Edan Lepucki. At the LARB, Diana Clarke reviews the book, which she calls “a sharp critique of the contemporary American post-racial narrative,” among other things.
“I love you, in its formal semantic meaning, is at once fetishized and sacrosanct; our familiarity with it as a speech-act is equally uneasy. Type ‘using I love you’ into Google and the first autocomplete result is ‘too much’; the second is ‘as a weapon.’” Google’s recently unveiled Smart Reply feature is saying “I love you” too much. Or is it just the right amount?
Paula Fox, celebrated novelist and winner of the 1983 National Book Award (among other honors), died this week. Contributing to our Year in Reading series two years ago, Parul Sehgal said she couldn’t stop rereading Desperate Characters, perhaps Fox’s most popular book for adults. “It’s really a wallop of a book,” Sehgal wrote. “A barbed portrait of a marriage, not to mention a brilliant take on gentrification, white fears of black and brown people, the hostile insularity of the nuclear family, and how power reproduces and how power conceals itself.” (Bonus: Dominic Smith wants to send a scene from that novel into space.)
When restauranteur Elaine Kaufman was alive, she gave writers a refuge at her favorite spot, Table 4. Even though the restaurant and Kaufman are long gone, her memory and devotion to writers live on with the Table 4 Writers Foundation. The foundation gives out $2,500 grants to writers at a gala at the New York Athletic Club on March 27. The 2013 winners include, “Bound” by Karen Yin, “Gotham Mexico” by Danny Thiemann, “Kim of Noho” by Kurt Pitzer, “Parkside” by Jennie Yabroff, and “Rent Control” by Matthew Perron. Additionally, several of Elaine’s regulars will be honored, including Mary Higgins Clark, Carol Higgins Clark, Stuart Woods, Chazz Palminteri, and Richard Dreyfuss.
Sometimes the most important issues are the most difficult to discuss. While a conversation about diversity in literature has started, The New Republic asks us why socioeconomic status is often left out of the conversation. Our essay on the rise and fall of the creative class pairs nicely.
Every year, for six months, a mysterious Twitter account tweets the Walt Whitman book Leaves of Grass in its entirety one line at a time. At The Atlantic, Rebecca J. Rosen profiles the account, which (to the owner’s bemusement) is popular among Lana Del Rey fans.