The semester is officially in full swing, and sallying forth in the spirit of yesterday’s teaching theme, here is another list of rules for teachers–this time in the style of John Cage–from Anne Boyer over at The New Inquiry.
“On closer inspection, however, the book comes off as something more complicated than a flowering of one eccentric and filthy man’s erotic imagination. Its elaborate descriptions of pleasure given and taken start to seem like scrims for a moral argument about what sorts of sexual behaviors should be ‘forbid’ and which should be encouraged—an argument refined in prison by an author deeply occupied with thoughts of punishment, dissipation, and sin.” On John Cleland’s (very erotic) novel Fanny Hill and the importance of its having been written in prison.
Lydia Millet’s most recent novel, Magnificence, is the third in a trilogy, and a reminder of what a significant body of work she’s been building over the last decade. The Point offers the best overview of that work you’re likely to find anywhere. Millet’s “equal parts” Ben Marcus and Jonathan Franzen, writes Tom Dibblee, “but really she’s her own thing.”
Before publishing her first story, Eudora Welty worked as a WPA photographer to document the effects of the Great Depression on rural Mississippi. Today, some of her portraits from this time are on display at the Wiljax Gallery in Cleveland, MS. You can take a look at some of them online courtesy of the gallery and The Oxford American.
After nearly a quarter of a millennium, the Encyclopedia Britannica is ending its print run. While the publication plans to move to a digital subscription based model, and to continue to gather information about the known world, many are sad to note its passing. Roxane Gay offers a particularly heartfelt eulogy: ” it was exciting to open the huge box and pull out the leather bound volumes, so many of them, the pages lined in gold.”
New this week: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood; Gold, Fame, Citrus, by Claire Vaye Watkins; Vertigo by Joanna Walsh; Syllabus of Errors by Troy Jollimore; The Good Story by Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee and Arabella Kurtz; I Must Be Living Twice by Eileen Myles; and The Complete Works of Primo Levi. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
Bud offers a charming man about town piece that touches on the intersection of technology and culture.One of my biggest on-the-job challenges back when I was a bookseller was recommending books for finicky teenagers. In an effort to take some of the guesswork out of this endeavor, Anita Silvey, a professor of children’s literature at Simmons College in Boston, wrote 500 Great Books for Teens. Scripps news prints 20 of those recommendations, including The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby, and, of course, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.Germany is prosecuting seven men for burning a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank, in a case that highlights the symbolic power of books.And in Trenton, NJ, librarians are accusing a library accountant of refusing to purchase the novel Whore by Tanika Lynch for the library’s collection because “he objected to the title.”