Lord of the Flies is perhaps the best example of a book that forces readers to confront how wild we are. But there’s a whole corpus of books that accomplish the same thing. In The New Statesman, Erica Wagner writes about Melissa Harrison’s At Hawthorn Time and Sarah Hall’s The Wolf Border.
On the heels of a New Mexico school district banning Neverwhere because a mother considered it “R-rated,” Neil Gaiman delivered a lecture for the Reading Agency about the importance of libraries and reading for children. “It’s tosh. It’s snobbery and it’s foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different,” he said about banning books.
“I war-gamed out everything. My biggest fear was that somebody tries to play out my book and finds out it won’t work.” At The New York Times, Alexandra Alter writes about the new Minecraft novel by Max Brooks, author of World War Z: “In the process, he may have also created a strange new entertainment category, one that hovers somewhere between fan fiction, role-playing games and literature — a novel set in a game, that can itself be played within the game.” And while we’re on the topic of games, let’s also talk about geekdom and race.
“[Ludmilla] Petrushevskaya doesn’t write about isolated acts of depravity; she writes about universal ones,” says Michael Robbins in his review of There Once Lived a Girl. “What’s scary about her narratives is their implication that only the thinnest film, which might rip at any time, separates us from the chaos and breakdown they describe.” Our own Janet Potter also reviewed Petrushevskaya’s work this week, and she focused on the romantic hopes of its characters. “What’s remarkable,” Potter writes, “is not the love they find, but the fact that they’re looking for it.”
Get ready for the return of Breaking Bad by reading Michelle Kuo and Albert Wu in the LARB, and also by reading Max Rivlin-Nadler’s piece in The Nation. Or, if you want to take a walk down memory lane, check out Chuck Klosterman’s piece from last year in which he convincingly argued that Walter White’s odyssey makes for best drama on television. Lastly, here’s some good news for those among you who subscribe to DirectTV and are thus locked out of AMC: you can stream tonight’s episode on the company’s website.
My “10 Best Songs Based on Books” list, from yesterday’s Observer (UK), is up on the Guardian’s website. Obviously it’s not so much the 10 Best as the 10 Best I could think of while writing the list, but that kind of equivocation makes for terribly unsnappy titles.