A few weeks ago, Meghan Daum released an essay collection, The Unspeakable, which our own Hannah Gersen described as “unputdownable” in her Millions review. At Slate, Katy Waldman offers her own praise, writing that “these essays do what essays often set out to do: trace the outlines of a self.”
Over at McSweeney’s, Sarah Solomon has undertaken the Sisyphean task of bringing existentialism into the twenty-first century. In a series of brief vignettes, Solomon gives the oft-maligned Millennial generation the existentialist makeover they never asked for. Continue your study of the absolute indifference of the universe with this essay by Zach Pontz on The Meursault Investigation, a new novel by Algerian journalist Kamel Daoud that imagines Albert Camus’s famous The Stranger from the perspective of the unnamed Arab antagonists.
“One lie I tell is that we care, generally—human beings—about each other. We could not, I tell myself in the moments just before the night’s dark hour, create The Odyssey or King Lear or Thomas and Beulah without a profound sense of The Other. Surely, were it true this thing’s a joke, nothing more, and a cruel one at that, we’d have no Dickinson, no Yeats, no freakin’ Rumi, read by Bly, loud on an old tape deck while I shower.” Pablo Tanguay on the art of lying.
“Rather than showing one isolated capsule, the new hall would encompass nature and the human world…. The central theme would not be a certain animal, or even the landscape portrayed. Not one story but the fact that the stories are there. Albert E. Parr, strongly influenced by the burgeoning field of ecology, believed that the interconnectedness between disciplines was the story of the world.” Jaime Green writes for Longreads about the narratives behind the exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History. Also check out our own Bill Morris’s piece on the new Whitney Museum.
Do you like to badger your friends with good reasons to buy an e-reader? Well, you socially adept rapscallion, you’re in luck — there’s a list up at Book Riot of 5 Great Digital-only Reads. (We hate to brag, but our own Mark O’Connell’s Epic Fail is No. 2.)
“In the years before my book came out, I was writing frantically. I remember a week when I was working late at my job, late enough that the buses had stopped running and I had to take a cab home, and I still wrote into the night, trying to finish an essay I had promised an editor. Now I see that I was trying to race against time. I had believed, however irrationally, that there would be a moment beyond which my voice would be taken away from me and I would no longer be able to write.” On writing and tenacity.