“Baldwin understood that if you are going to say something important about the world it is best if you try to say it beautifully. I don’t mean like picking flowers or writing on fancy stationery. I mean how you say it actually makes it a more meaningful piece of writing. I am going to push that further. It makes it a truer piece of writing. What you are saying is: ‘Can I make somebody feel this in a deeper way?’ That was what I was obsessed with.” Over at The Guardian, Ta-Nehisi Coates talks about the success of Between the World and Me and being inspired by his father. Pair with our own Sonya Chung’s essay on David Brooks and Ta-Nehisi Coates.
First our own Mark O’Connell pondered the relationship between listicles and our shrinking attention spans for The New Yorker, and now Arika Okrent suggests that a listicle is its own literary form – albeit a “gloriously unspecified” form, at that. Together, these pieces constitute 2 Meditations On Listicles That Will Totally Change Your Life.
"The novel is told from the perspective of an unnamed African-American narrator who considers himself to be socially invisible due to the color of his skin," writes Variety. Following in the footsteps of its adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Hulu is in the beginning stages of adapting Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. Read our own editor Lydia Kiesling on Ellison's Invisible Man.
New this week is The Tiger's Wife, the hotly anticipated debut of Téa Obreht, the youngest of the New Yorker's 20 Under 40 from last year. Also new in the fiction aisle is Carol Edgarian's Three Stages of Amazement. David Brooks's latest pop sociology effort The Social Animal is now out -- this one, excerpted in the New Yorker -- sets itself apart from similar tomes by illustrating its findings through a pair of fictional characters. Now out in paperback are National Book Award winner Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon, Ian McEwan's Solar, and Rebecca Skloot's non-fiction blockbuster The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
Recommended Reading: David Sedaris's essay about his sister Tiffany's suicide, "Now We Are Five," for The New Yorker. "How could anyone purposefully leave us, us, of all people? This is how I thought of it, for though I’ve often lost faith in myself, I’ve never lost it in my family, in my certainty that we are fundamentally better than everyone else."
Robert Roper wonders whether or not Ernest Hemingway's death has "eclipsed his work." Elsewhere, Melville House wonders whether or not the FBI had something to do with it. The author's influence is as apparent today as ever before, though perhaps it's not his death that endures, but rather his perceived masculine mystique.