Hanya Yanagihara, the author of A Little Life, writes on reenacting a version of John Cheever’s short story “The Swimmer” by swimming across Martha’s Vineyard. As she explains it, “Swimming in the ocean is writing a novel; swimming in a pond is writing in a diary.” Pair with Nick Ripatrazone’s Millions essay on Cheever’s classic story.
Over at The New Inquiry, Alison Kinney writes on narrative opportunity, the true function of the literary orphan, and the rage of the real orphan. This moving piece by Matthew Salesses for The Millions on adoption and searching for oneself in a strange place is a nice complement.
“The joy of reading about the meals of others shows that, in many ways, we are simple creatures: by merely looking upon someone else eating we can feel better fed.” In the New Yorker, Bee Wilson considers the “Pleasures of the Literary Meal,” something Seth Sawyers wrote about for the Millions last year.
A team of archaeologists just found Cervantes‘s body, and while that seems like a fun literary and historical event, the New Yorker‘s Ilan Stevens has a slightly different perspective: “Frankly, there is something creepy about bringing Cervantes back from the dead.”
“Riordan’s books prompt an uneasy interrogation of the premise underlying the ‘so long as they’re reading’ side of the debate—at least among those of us who want to share Neil Gaiman’s optimistic view that all reading is good reading, and yet find ourselves by disposition closer to the Tim Parks end of the spectrum, worried that those books on our children’s shelves that offer easy gratification are crowding out the different pleasures that may be offered by less grabby volumes.” In an essay for The New Yorker, Rebecca Mead considers questions about what children should be reading through the lens of the Percy Jackson series.