“After years of reading, teaching, and writing about the book, though, I’ve come to believe that… our understanding of what is comic and what is serious in Huck Finn says more about America in the last century than America in the time Twain wrote the book.” Andrew Levy writes for Salon about childhood, race, and “dedicated amnesia” in Mark Twain‘s controversial classic.
Recommended Listening: Hanya Yanagihara, author of A Little Life, on Otherppl with Brad Listi. “It was draining in ways that I didn’t really realize until the book was done.” Pair with our own Lydia Kiesling’s piece on life in the works of Yanagihara and Atticus Lish.
The folks at The New Yorker's Book Bench offer their take at The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books. (Spoiler Alert: Katherine Hepburn gets a shoutout.)
The London Review of Books Blog reports that the personal library of late novelist David Markson has been scattered among the stacks at New York’s Strand bookstore, filled with notes, check marks and underlined passages. Some comments found scrawled in his copy of DeLillo’s White Noise: “oh god the pomposity, the bullshit!” and “oh i get it, it’s a sci-fi novel!”
Today is Herman Melville's birthday. This October, Tin House will be releasing Matt Kish's Moby-Dick In Pictures. Kish began illustrating Melville's masterpiece in 2009 by "creating images based on text selected from every page of the 552-page Signet Classics paperback edition." You can preview some of the work on the book's designated Twitter account.