Out this week: Good on Paper by Rachel Cantor; Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson; Unspeakable Things by Kathleen Spivack; On the Edge by Rafael Chirbes; The Unfinished World by Amber Sparks; and Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine by Diane Williams. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
In their closing statements, Russian dissidents du jour Pussy Riot cited the authors who inspired them and placed themselves in Russia’s rich history of imprisoning their artists. Also check out Carol Rumens’s excellent translation of the song that landed Pussy Riot in hot water.
The thing about Dave Chappelle, writes Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah in her marvelous essay on the comedian’s family history, the success of Chappelle’s Show, and how the two informed his opinions on race, “is that he was suddenly vaulted into the awkward position of being the world’s most famous interlocutor in a conversation about race—the one conversation no one likes having.” In light of his recent heckling in Connecticut, as well as the continued misinterpretation of his comedy, “it’s easy to understand why Chappelle was done with being misread, tired of explaining, [and so he] finished talking.”
Recommended Reading: Meryl Cates of The Paris Review gets Millayed in Edna St. Vincent Millay’s gardens at Steepletop, the New England-style farmhouse where the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet worked and played. Pair with this essay from The Millions on reading writers’ houses.
When you’re trying to keep up with the best new writers out there, it’s easy to forget the debt we owe to the classics. So let’s go back to the beginning: Why Homer Matters, a new book by Adam Nicholson on the father of all poets, explores the question of who Homer was, and whether or not he was even one person. You could also read Frank Kovarik on the parallels between The Odyssey and Toni Morrison’s Beloved.
“Mario purchased pickup trucks from which he removed panels and lights. The trick was packing the drugs in a part of the vehicle where the body wouldn’t lose its hollow sound when slapped.” These two sentences just got author Dan Slater‘s new book Wolf Boys banned from Texas prisons, inadvertently calling attention to Banned Books Week. Pair with two of our essays about controversial reads.