There’s been a lot of talk about Young Adult writing lately – we’ve covered it here and here and here – but where did YA come from, anyway? The New Yorker profiles writer S.E. Hinton, whose debut novel The Outsiders launched the genre, by way of answer.
Nowadays, Huck Finn is as a lightning rod for racial issues, which explains why so many schools have banned the book over the years. But in the late 18th century, when Mark Twain published it, the novel was more controversial as a critique of childhood in America. In the Times, Year in Reading alum Parul Sehgal reads Huck Finn’s America, a new book by Andrew Levy that sheds light on the context of the era. You could also read our founder C. Max Magee on reading Huck Finn as a child.
At 74, Clive James is a remarkably prolific poet, one who’s working hard to finish or publish three books in the next year alone. He spoke with Douglas Murray of The Spectator about his unflagging energy. “At the moment, I am in the slightly embarrassing position where I write poems saying I am about to die and I don’t,” he says. You could also read our own Garth Risk Hallberg on James’s book Cultural Amnesia.
Can’t get your fill of end-of-the-world scenarios? Playboy has a list of five new books to give you your eschatological fill. We have a few recent pieces about literary apocalypses too: reviews of Alan Moore‘s Jerusalem (here) and Colson Whitehead‘s The Underground Railroad (here), and Dana Spiotta‘s interview with After James author Michael Helm. Go forth and destroy (in your minds).
Did you know that a new Jonathan Safran Foer book is coming out this week? We didn’t until we saw a mention of it at Kottke. More surprising is the form of the book itself. Foer has created a new work called Tree of Codes by cutting out sections of one of his favorite books, The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Shulz. The die-cut, Kindle-proof volume is the first major title by London-based Visual Editions. Vanity Fair has more.
Should you go to grad school? Should you not go to grad school? Should you stop reading trend pieces on going to graduate school?