You will not want to miss these fragments on writing, publishing, and remaining anonymous by the enigmatic Italian writer Elena Ferrante. This Millions essay by Cora Currier on reading Italy through Ferrante’s work pairs quite nicely.
“When it comes to living in a democracy, Nato Thompson argues, nothing affects us more directly and more powerfully than culture. Culture suffuses the world we live in, from TV to music to advertising to sports. And all these things, Thompson writes in his new book, Culture as Weapon, ‘influence our emotions, our actions, and our very understanding of ourselves as citizens.'”
You may not expect much from a write-up about The Smiths’ new collected box set, Complete, but that’s about to change. In a phenomenal piece on the relationship between racial (in particular Asian) otherness and the UK band’s music, Sukhdev Sandhu explains how Morrissey’s “lyrics and persona mapped out a structure of feeling that spoke to my own floundering selfhood.”
New this week is Marilynne Robinson’s collection of essays When I Was a Child I Read Books. Also out are Arcadia by Lauren Groff, The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits, and The Reconstructionist by Nick Arvin. Finally, the collected writings of the late and beloved critic John Leonard, Reading for My Life, is now out.