Louis Menand, Thessaly La Force, Amelia Lester, and David Haglund have come together to discuss the influence of literary powerhouse and cultural icon Joan Didion in The New Yorker’s Out Loud Podcast. Our own Michael Bourne calls Didion America’s Truth Teller in his review of her biography.
New this week: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders; Shadowbahn by Steve Erickson; The Fortunate Ones by Ellen Umansky; All That's Left to Tell by Daniel Lowe; The Weight of Him by Ethel Rohan; The Dark Flood Rises by Margaret Drabble; and Be My Wolff by Emma Richler. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
Discovery of the Week: Fairy tales are older than previously thought. Researchers have traced stories back to prehistoric and bronze age times. For example, Beauty and the Beast and Rumplestiltskin “can be securely traced back to the emergence of the major western Indo-European subfamilies as distinct lineages between 2,500 and 6,000 years ago.” Kirsty Logan writes about the problem with fairy tales.
"Maybe everything is an organized mess at high speed": in one of the more deeply buried leads in history, Brad Listi announces The Nervous Breakdown's new publishing imprint. And yes, I could just send you to the official press release, but I loved this piece.
Those of you out there who grew up in the 90s will remember that every disaster movie brought a slew of novelizations into bookstores. Even if the movie in question did badly, you knew that at least two adaptations of the script would pop up on shelves. At Hazlitt, Will Sloan wonders if the age of the novelization is over.