“She can write like a man, they said, by which they meant, She can write.” Claire Vaye Watkins writes for Tin House about the problem that has no name. Also check out this Millions piece on sexism in the age of the internet.
Apropos of our popular "Open Letter to Kanye West," may we recommend the "Shouts & Murmurs in this week's New Yorker? "I have more than a million [Facebook] fans," writes a certain unnamed narrator. "Do you know how many fans Books have? Twenty-five thousand seven hundred and sixty-four."
We've been following the raging debate about diversity in the publishing industry, which recently re-triggered when BookExpo America released a speaker list of "29 white people and a cat" (as The Toast summed it up). The panel was rebalanced, but debate around the root issue continues: recent data indicates, for example, that while the US has become more diverse in population, the number of multicultural childrens' books has remained flat under 10 percent for two decades. Follow the continuing debate on Twitter hashtags like #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #DiverseCanLit, or look to this helpful round-up of blogs and articles at BookRiot.
A surreal theater production of Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, directed by Yukio Ninagawa, premiered at the Lincoln Center Festival in July. Ian Buruma writes for the NYRB about the marriage of tradition and modernity, and Western and Eastern references in the play. As he puts it, "even without traditional references, the production—perhaps more than Murakami’s novel—is still unmistakably Japanese: stylized, poetic, comical, violent, full of spectacular effects, and often exquisitely beautiful to look at. The setting jumps at lightning speed from a bus station, to a library, to a sleazy bar area. Various characters emerge and disappear, like memories or scenes from a dream, in an assortment of moving transparent boxes."
As Nick Richardson notes for the London Review of Books, Saul Bellow’s son, Adam, has his hands full these days. When he’s not maintaining a site devoted to conservative “literature,” he’s extolling the virtues of conservative fiction writers you “probably have never heard of — and won’t, if the powers that rule the lit-crit, fanfic, and commercial publishing worlds have anything to say about it.”
In addition to House of Holes' recent coverage in the New York Review of Books and Open Letters Monthly (and on The Millions), the latest edition of The Paris Review features an interview with "mad scientist of smut" Nicholson Baker. (You can check out an excerpt here.) But for those still unsatisfied, Adam Wilson has assembled a canon of raunchy literature.
On Monday we mentioned that the MTA has started offering free e-books underground as part of its Subway Reads program, but they weren't the first to make books an integral part of the public transit experience. London's Books on the Underground was first, but then came a more interesting development in Australia: book ninjas. Books on the Rails is a gonzo experiment started by two Melbourne residents who began releasing free books – actual, paper books – into the wilds of the city's tram system. About 300 books are currently in circulation in what's possibly the world's most open lending library.