“Neither for the first nor last time in his life, Orwell was the brilliant loner who saw what others around him failed to notice.” Adam Hochschild writes on Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia and his unique perspective on fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Vishwas Gaitonde takes us to Orwell’s first home in India.
What is the function of the art critic, anyway? According to Barry Schwabsky at The Nation, it is not “making or breaking” an artist, but rather “opening up perspectives without … belaboring them.” For the critically minded among you, here’s a Millions review of A.O. Scott’s new book Better Living Through Criticism.
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.”
New York Times travel editor Monica Drake recounts visiting Antigua after reading Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place—a sharp critique of tourism and the colonialist narrative around the island. As she puts it, “For all the drama of its history, […] the beauty of the place, the very thing that bewitches its tourists, renders it a time capsule to its residents.”
Alison Baverstock takes a wide eye look at ten ways self-publishing has changed the book world. One item of note? “The copy editor, a traditionally marginalised figure, is now in strong demand.”
Need something to complement our profile of Jami Attenberg’s Saint Mazie today? Then try this on for size: Year in Reading alum Emily Gould conducts an interview with the author at The Rumpus. Among other things, they talk about historical fiction, writing quickly and doing research on the Lower East Side.