“Magic I think for me is kind of personal. Like, as soon as magic is in play, then I am given permission to imagine a different world, one in which magic things might happen—one where maybe I get some magic to wield if I’m lucky. Where cool stuff might happen at any given moment, cool stuff you wouldn’t even guess at. And for as long as the story holds, I’m kind of living in that world.” John Darnielle talks with Colin Winette about E.R. Eddison‘s The Worm Ouroboros, reading high fantasy and writing Wolf in White Van.
Lit-mag Meanjin Quarterly is taking a cue from The Millions and kicking off a new series, The Best Australian Fiction of the 21st Century (so far).
“When she got to a passage in the book about a ‘slump,’ she looked at the children and said, ‘So sometimes you don’t feel good, right? But then – what do you do?’ The children waited.” Via Slate’s Katy Waldman, a look at the world’s greatest pool report.
“[I]f your kid isn’t reading yet, he won’t know you’re gender-swapping Elliot the elephant.” Lifehacker considers how to get boys to read so-called “girls’ books,” i.e., enjoy books with both male and female protagonists. Pair with T.K. Dalton‘s consideration of gender, childrearing, and reading.
A Mississippi school district has decided to pull Harper Lee‘s To Kill a Mockingbird from its junior-high reading list because it “makes people uncomfortable.” The novel, which frequently tops the American Library Association’s “Frequently Challenged Book” list, tackles racism. See also: an essay on the symbolism of mockingbirds.
New this week is Marilynne Robinson’s collection of essays When I Was a Child I Read Books. Also out are Arcadia by Lauren Groff, The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits, and The Reconstructionist by Nick Arvin. Finally, the collected writings of the late and beloved critic John Leonard, Reading for My Life, is now out.