Azar Nafisi thinks the best way to pin down a culture is to take a look at its canonical works of literature. In The Republic of Imagination, as Adam Begley details in a review in the Times Literary Supplement, she examines a few of America’s classic novels, including Babbitt, Huck Finn and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. You could also read Jonathan Russell Clark’s review of the book for The Millions.
Read Karl Ove Knausgaard’s acceptance speech for the Welt Literaturpreis, an annual prize awarded by the German newspaper Die Welt, at The New Yorker. He writes, “The difference between engaging with a real neighbor and one in a novel is that the former occurs in the social sphere, within the boundaries of its rules and practical constraints, whereas the latter occurs outside of it, in the reader’s own most private, intimate sphere, where the rules that govern our social interaction do not apply and its practical constraints do not exist.” You could also check out Knausgaard’s book excerpt at The Millions.
We’re not supposed to call it a hypertext, but when you’ve got some time, try playing around with Paul La Farge‘s website for Luminous Airplanes – which will eventually grow to encompass three times as much material as the print edition of the book.
Jenny Diski‘s personal take on Roman Polanski and rape, at the London Review of Books.
At The Nervous Breakdown, an excerpt of Still Writing, the new book by Year in Reading alum Dani Shapiro. The excerpt comes on the heels of one of the site’s trademark self-interviews, in which the author laments of herself as interviewer, “You don’t pull any punches, do you?” (Related: our own Hannah Gersen talked with Shapiro about her book.)
“Welty and Millar struck up an epistolary friendship that endured until his death in 1983, exchanging some 345 letters. Even after the onset of Alzheimer’s disease left Millar unable to reply, Welty wrote him.” On the enduring friendship and almost-romance of Eudora Welty and Ross MacDonald from The Paris Review.
A while back, we noted that Tumblr had begun hiring editors and reporters to cover and curate the site’s social stories and original content. Recently, that (vaguely Soviet sounding) Department of Editorial launched the first iteration of its work: Storyboard. Details on participation can be read here.