This track-by-track take on Jason Isbell’s newest album Something More Than Free is as comprehensive as it is intelligent. Isbell, who rose to fame as a member of Athens, GA mainstays The Drive By Truckers, has seen most of the press narrative around him focus on his trips to rehab and subsequent recovery–this record, however, aims for something more. Here’s our Torch Ballads & Jukebox Music column to satisfy any lingering musical urges.
“Is This a Golden Age for Women Essayists?” Cheryl Strayed and Benjamin Moser debate in this week’s The New York Times‘s Bookends column. Pair their piece with Anne Boyd Rioux‘s Millions article examining gender equity and lack thereof in nonfiction writing.
Out this week: Startup by Doree Shafrir; Borne by Jeff VanderMeer; The Maids by Junichiro Tanizaki; The Last Neanderthal by our own Claire Cameron; and Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
The political unrest in Moscow is significant and worth covering, but it’s important to verify the facts. Over the weekend, a picture of an enormous crowd went viral, and it was billed as an image of anti-Putin demonstrations. This is not true. The image is actually from a 1991 rally in which protesters called for Mikhail Gorbachev’s resignation. It even appears in this Atlantic article from December, 2011.
The Guardian reports that Harper Lee is suing the local museum in her Alabama hometown. The octogenarian author of To Kill a Mockingbird, who currently resides in an assisted-living facility, claims that the museum is profiting off her fame without providing her due compensation.
An arsonist broke into the University of Missouri’s Ellis Library, but Robert Long Foreman‘s dismayed for more than that reason.
“They are both popular and literary and seem to have no problem standing with a foot in each category.” For The Paris Review, our own Adam O’Fallon Price writes about the “unambiguous sophistication” of Curtis Sittenfeld‘s writing—which is often regulated to the world of “chick lit”—and her new short story collection, You Think It, I’ll Say It. (Read our interview with Sittenfeld.)
“If culture is purely entertainment, nothing is of importance. If it’s a matter of amusement, an impostor can undoubtedly amuse me more than a profoundly authentic person. But if culture signifies more than this, then it’s worrying.” Sociologist Gilles Lipovetsky interviews the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Mario Vargas Llosa about the contemporary collapse between “high” and “low” cultures.