On the persistent popularity and flexibility of Cinderella, from old folktales featuring talking gourds all the way to the upcoming Disney version, from NPR.
A couple months ago, Melville House published a biography of Roberto Bolaño, constructed from interviews the author gave throughout his life. At Full-Stop, Andrew Mitchell Davenport reads the biography, suggesting that the preponderance of myths about the author “makes elucidating Bolaño’s biography a moral issue.” Pair with: our own Garth Risk Hallberg’s Bolaño syllabus.
Inua Ellams wrote a poem entitled “Portrait of Prometheus as a Basketball Player” in which he imagined “the fire stolen from the gods to be shaped as a basketball, and Prometheus dunking light into the world.” [Note: Ctrl + F for “Portrait of Prometheus” at this link to read the poem.] Over at Magma, Ellams discusses “the process of composing a poem, as a coach might stitch a [basketball] team together.” Perhaps all of this explains Patricia Lockwood’s interest in Shaquille O’Neal?
In 1847, Charles Dickens founded a house for homeless women in the Shepherd’s Bush neighborhood of London. After setting up the center’s amenities, he publicized the house using leaflets and, upon hearing that London society was shocked that the center had a piano, spread a rumor that the center boasted a piano for every resident. At The Guardian, a look at a letter Dickens wrote to the matron of the house, to be sold at Christie’s in May. (h/t The Paris Review)
Here at The Millions, we know the importance of a book's cover (for evidence see here, here, here and here), so Margaret Sullivan's new project, Jane Austen Cover to Cover, has our attention. A sample of covers for Emma, available on The Paris Review's blog, "provides a fascinating glimpse into a variety of publishing cultures, and it reminds that even our classics are mutable, pitched to appeal to any number of sensibilities, their literary status in constant flux per the dictates of the market."
"Skipping or skimming parts of a narrative should not only be expected but encouraged, particularly if an author is writing without clarity or purpose or showing off. Life’s too short to slog through some smarty-pants attempt to demonstrate a mastery of mechanical engineering or botany." Adam Kirsch and Anna Holmes face off for The New York Times Bookends column about whether there are right and wrong ways to read a book.
Read this interview with Mary H.K. Choi where she discusses her novel, Emergency Contact, and how it offers a more modern (2010s) portrayal of Asian American mother-daughter relationships. "Choi’s novel blows up Asian female stereotypes and prods readers to question their own cultural biases about women of color. For instance: Not all Asian moms are like Lane Kim’s in “Gilmore Girls.” Not all of them own antique shops or dry cleaners, care singularly about grades and won’t let their baby tiger cubs date until they’ve finished graduate school."