“Riordan’s books prompt an uneasy interrogation of the premise underlying the ‘so long as they’re reading’ side of the debate—at least among those of us who want to share Neil Gaiman’s optimistic view that all reading is good reading, and yet find ourselves by disposition closer to the Tim Parks end of the spectrum, worried that those books on our children’s shelves that offer easy gratification are crowding out the different pleasures that may be offered by less grabby volumes.” In an essay for The New Yorker, Rebecca Mead considers questions about what children should be reading through the lens of the Percy Jackson series.
It’s only fitting that Baltimore’s City Paper has an exclusive excerpt from Carsick, the new book by Charm City’s Chosen Son, John Waters. After all, they did offer him some of their weed. Meanwhile, the Pope of Trash recently invited New York Magazine on a hitchhiking ride through Manhattan, his home away from home.
“There’s much to be commended in the work done by FiveThirtyEight, or even Vox,” writes Millions contributor Brian Ted Jones. “But making problems seem smaller then they are is a harm that outweighs all the good.” He goes on to tie together the rise of “explainer” sites, the problem with “hashtag activism,” and also references to Louis C.K., Teju Cole, and Leslie Jamison.
Last week, Emily Gould recommended Nell Zink in her Year of Reading piece, extolling Zink’s novel The Wallcreepers as a “funny, profane, [and] deeply weird book.” At The Paris Review Daily, Matthew Jakubowski interviews the author, who talks about living in Germany, reading too much Kafka and writing for Jonathan Franzen.
New writers need to trust themselves, Marilynne Robinson advises in an interview with Thessaly La Force for VICE. “The idea that you might do something radically brilliant—that assumption is very empowering and it has given the world a lot of really interesting things to look at,” she said.
The novel that had Scarlett Johansson filing charges of “fraudulent and illegal exploitation of (her) name” is due out next month in its English-language iteration. The First Thing You See by Grégoire Delacourt is ostensibly about a garage mechanic who ends up falling for a Johansson lookalike. For more on the legality of literature, here’s an essay for The Millions on J.D. Salinger and U.S. copyright.
You may know that The Butter founder Roxane Gay had a banner year in 2014. The Year in Reading alum published a collection of essays and her debut novel. At Salon, she talks with Sara Scribner, sharing her thoughts on modern feminism, Lena Dunham and her plans for her next book.