Leave it to Roxane Gay to come up with a novel format for an essay on the feminist novel. In the new issue of Dissent, she presents eleven theses on the topic, including references to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, and Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Sample quote: “Not every novel that concerns itself with the lives of women is a feminist novel. Fifty Shades of Grey is not a feminist novel.” You could also read our own Edan Lepucki on the problem with feminist anthems.
Year in Reading alum Maria Popova of Brain Pickings writes her first book review for The New York Times on Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs by Lisa Randall, a Harvard cosmologist. Randall proposes ”that a thin disk of dark matter in the plane of the Milky Way triggered a minor perturbation in deep space that caused the major earthly catastrophe that decimated the dinosaurs.” Jenny Hendrix writes about modern-day extinction for The Millions.
Many aspiring writers wind up in publishing jobs or teaching posts. Some view the career choice as a happy union between their creative interests and their vocational qualifications. T. S. Eliot was not so. In an article for The Rumpus, Lisa Levy notes that the poet continued “to work at the bank even after his poems [became] successful,” and that the poet found the work “more conducive to writing poetry and criticism than taking a more literary job might be.”
John Jeremiah Sullivan writes about heritage, history, literature, and the Emerald Isle in this piece for The New York Times Magazine, “My Debt to Ireland.” In the essay, Sullivan talks about the Aran Islands, and in particular Dún Aonghasa. On our Tumblr, I’ve shared some photos I took at the place.
Need a dose of new Irish poetry in your life? The Irish Times (naturally) has you covered. In the Saturday edition, John McAuliffe reviews two new and notable collections: The Boys of Bluehill by Eilean Ni Chuilleanain and The Days of Surprise by Paul Durcan.