Recommended (Revolutionary) Reading: On why Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics remains so relevant to today’s most heated literary arguments, despite its being nearly fifty years old at this point.
What is it like to work for a major book publisher? In an excerpt from the new reprint of her My Misspent Youth, Meghan Daum discusses the myth of the glamorous editorial job, one in which no time is wasted reading self-help books and unauthorized biographies of cable stars. As she explains it, “We’re secretaries fully versed in Derrida, receptionists who have read Proust in French.” Also check out our own Hannah Gersen’s review of Daum’s latest essay collection The Unspeakable.
“Anyone reading my fiction would never guess how seriously I take food.” Extra Crispy has an interview with Junot Díaz about his diet, with particular attention given to breakfast: “I split my time between two cities so when I’m in Boston there’s a Dominican restaurant called Merengue that serves the classic Dominican breakfast of mangú, fried egg, and fried salami. I leave off the fried cheese because well, damn.” If you’re hungry for more, might we also suggest our own Nick Ripatrazone‘s ode to the day’s first meal, as it figures in both literature and life.
Most readers nurse particular fantasies of stepping into their favorite books. Whether they dream of enrolling at Hogwarts, or signing up for MI6 with James Bond, they usually have a stable of settings that function as a means of escape. So imagine how strange and conflicting it was to be Jonathan Gottschall, the English professor who got a chance to enter Fight Club.
When a professor of literature wrote Flannery O’Connor for a master key for interpreting her story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” he probably did not expect her particularly unimpressed reply: “Too much interpretation is certainly worse than too little, and where feeling for a story is absent, theory will not supply it.” (Via the ever-excellent Letters of Note.)
Jorge Louis Borges’s suggestions for the thirty-three books to begin his famed Library of Babel includes works by Oscar Wilde, Franz Kafka, and even Borges himself–and, maddeningly, no women. Nothing against Borges, but you may want to spend some time with our own slightly more diverse Year in Reading series for a bit more variety.