Year in Reading alumna Sarah Manguso writes about motherhood, writing, and the disintegration of the self in a moving essay for Harper’s. As she puts it, “I want to read books that were written in desperation, by people who are disturbed and overtaxed, who balance on the extreme edge of experience. I want to read books by people who are acutely aware that death is coming and that abiding love is our last resort.” Pair with Jaime Green’s Millions review of Manguso’s Ongoingness: The End of a Diary.
“We live, in short, with local exceptions, in a dissociated world held together by fragile links of utility and self-promotion underpinned by laws of mutual advantage—a materialist ethos and cosmos that cannot but influence cultural representations and, hence, art, including poetry.” On John Donne and the humanity in art.
Must be willing to perform “light, household maintenance.” Harry Bliss, an illustrator and cartoonist at The New Yorker, has purchased the former home of J.D. Salinger and will turn it into a retreat for one lucky cartoonist during February 2017. Pair with our review of J.D. Salinger: A Life, a comprehensive biography of the famously reclusive writer’s work.
At the LARB, Anne Trubek quotes Lionel Trilling in a review of The Son and American Rust, the two books published thus far by New Yorker 20 Under 40 alum Phillipp Meyer. “In the American metaphysic,” Trilling wrote in his essay “Reality in America,” “reality is always material reality, hard, resistant, unformed, impenetrable, and unpleasant.” Those of you who read our pieces on both books may be able to guess why the quote is relevant.
We’re pleased as punch to introduce Millions readers to our new interns, Carolyn Quimby and Ariana Valderrama. Arianna is originally from Chicago but is currently based in Washington, D.C. where she works in communications. In high school she started a book blog, Reading in Color, where she reviewed over 200 middle grade and young adult books about people of color. On her nightstand right now: Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman Jr. and White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Carolyn works in academic publishing by day and is a freelance writer and book reviewer by night. Sometimes she dreams about going on a road trip solely dedicated to visiting bookstores, but mostly she tweets at @CarolynQuimby. Currently on her nightstand: Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. We couldn’t be happier to have Carolyn and Ariana on board!
In a New York Times op-ed piece on violence in children’s literature, Maria Tatar claims that “the savagery we offer children today is more unforgiving than it once was.” Is that really the case? Adam Gidwitz‘s A Tale Dark And Grimm (reviewed by the Times last November), which underscores the violence inherent in Grimm’s tales, can be read as a counterpoint.