Last week, to mark the release of The First Bad Man, we interviewed Miranda July here at The Millions. In Bookforum, you can read another interview with July, who talks about striving to mimic the feeling of “purposely unfinished work.”
“Neither for the first nor last time in his life, Orwell was the brilliant loner who saw what others around him failed to notice.” Adam Hochschild writes on Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia and his unique perspective on fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Vishwas Gaitonde takes us to Orwell’s first home in India.
What are college freshman reading? NPR shares a few selections from around the country. A recent study found that "The list of readings continues to be dominated by recent, trendy, and intellectually unchallenging books." Our own Nick Ripatrazone writes about the difference between teaching high school and college students.
Though Mark Twain first gained notoriety after publishing an essay about a famous jumping frog, the onetime Samuel Clemens didn’t really hit his stride until he became a public speaker, as the money he accrued from reading in front of audiences gave him a steady source of income. At Salon, Ben Tarnoff recounts Twain’s journey to the podium, one laid out more broadly in Tarnoff’s book about a group of San Francisco writers.
There's a lot of (justified) talk about the power of reading, but simply owning a book can be meaningful. Mabel Rosenheck considers Walter Benjamin's perspective on book ownership - "[it] is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who lives in them." - and her own experiences with book collecting in San Francisco in an essay for The Toast. Pair with Anne Fadiman's essay on relationships, books, and relationships with books, "Marrying Libraries."
Most of the time, when somebody insults a writer on Twitter, the insult disappears into the cyberspace ether. However, as with any rule, there are always exceptions, and one is when you trash Joyce Carol Oates and then thank her for inventing a breakfast food.