In spite of the title of her blog post, Lily Meyer doesn’t think Ann Patchett is really an enemy of Zadie Smith. Instead, she thinks the two authors play opposing roles in her life, thanks largely to the different effects their books have on her perceptions. At the Ploughshares blog, she contrasts their novels, using excerpts from White Teeth and Bel Canto. Related: Kevin Charles Redmon’s review of Patchett’s novel State of Wonder.
What is it like to work for a major book publisher? In an excerpt from the new reprint of her My Misspent Youth, Meghan Daum discusses the myth of the glamorous editorial job, one in which no time is wasted reading self-help books and unauthorized biographies of cable stars. As she explains it, “We’re secretaries fully versed in Derrida, receptionists who have read Proust in French.” Also check out our own Hannah Gersen’s review of Daum’s latest essay collection The Unspeakable.
For The New York Times, Alexandra Alter writes about girls in titles lately—Emma Cline’s The Girls, Megan Miranda’s All the Missing Girls, and Amy Schumer’s The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, to name a few. Pair with Michael Bourne’s Millions review of The Girls.
Over at VICE, Karan Mahajan, Tanwi Nandini Islam, and Jenny Zhang talked about the new generation of Asian American writers. “There isn’t really a canon, which means if you are Asian American and writing, you’re automatically adding to it. Once I realized this, I became extremely protective of my writing,” said Zhang. Pair with this Millions interview with Mahajan.
Recommended reading: The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the new modesty of literary criticism and the complicated relationship between texts, critics, and politics. For more on the balance between art and politics, look no further than Jonathan Clarke‘s Millions essay, “Alive with Disagreement and Dissent.”