“What if, instead of simply critiquing Go Set a Watchman’s failure, we tried to analyze it? The new, older work makes more sense if we read it as an attempt to accomplish two tasks: first, to master—unsuccessfully, it turns out—the smart-magazine style that Harper Lee developed in her student journalism; and second, to write in a genre that often relied on the ironic elisions typical of ‘smart style’: the midcentury social-problem novel.” Tom Perrin on Harper Lee and the social novel. Pair with Michael Bourne’s Millions review.
Stay up until 4am reading that new release? Dread your early alarm after a night spent with a book? Maybe you're just on Flaubert's schedule. Or, if you find it easy to fall asleep before midnight and enjoy early mornings, perhaps you're running on Victor Hugo time. New York Magazine has compiled an infographic of the sleeping habits of geniuses, and the good news is that no matter when you fall asleep and wake up, someone brilliant has more or less kept your same schedule. So take heart, late-night readers and early risers. We're all in good company.
In exciting micro library news, Book Riot reports that the 50,000-th Little Free Library was "planted" on November 4th, doubling the number of Little Libraries in the U.S. a year and a half ago. We're all in agreement that big libraries are more vital than ever, though, right?
Earlier today, the Guggenheim Foundation announced this year's Fellows, and the names on their list include a few that Millions readers will recognize. On the fiction side, there's contributor Laila Lalami along with Year in Reading alumni Jess Row and Jesse Ball, while in nonfiction and poetry, there's Amanda Petrusich along with Adam Kirsch, Chris Kraus and Deborah Landau. The winners each receive a sizeable cash grant.
A Mississippi school district has decided to pull Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird from its junior-high reading list because it "makes people uncomfortable." The novel, which frequently tops the American Library Association's "Frequently Challenged Book" list, tackles racism. See also: an essay on the symbolism of mockingbirds.