“When the French would go to serve, they often said, Tenez!, the French word for ‘take it,’ meaning ‘coming at you, heads up.’ We preserve this custom of warning the opponent in our less lyrical way by stating the score just before we toss up the ball. It was the Italians who, having overheard the French make these sounds, began calling the game ‘ten-ez’ by association. A lovely detail in that it suggests a scene, a Florentine ear at the fence or entryway, listening.” Whether it’s David Foster Wallace or John Jeremiah Sullivan writing about tennis, I’m reading it. Another three-namer, Jonathan Russell Clark, reviewed The David Foster Wallace Reader for The Millions.
To celebrate its 10th birthday, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie’s National Book Award winning YA novel, is being reissued. The special anniversary edition features a new introduction by Jacqueline Woodson, family photographs, a new afterward, and an excerpt from the book’s upcoming sequel, Rowdy, Rowdy, Rowdy. Also worth your time is Woodson’s 2016 year in reading.
Two journals started the week by showing off their fancy new faces. Gigantic launched a new web site for the magazine, featuring a chapter from Shya Scanlon‘s Forecast 42 and new fiction by J.A. Tyler. The Barnes & Noble Review debuted a toothsome redesign along with a sobering essay on book publishing by former Executive Editor-in-Chief of Random House, Daniel Menaker.
For The New Yorker Alex Ross describes the role Nebraska’s prairies played in Willa Cather’s writing, his encounters with Cather people, and how he became one himself. “From this roughshod Europe of the mind, Cather also emerged with a complex understanding of American identity. Her symphonic landscapes are inflected with myriad accents, cultures, personal narratives—all stored away in a prodigious memory. “
Margaret Wise Brown was nothing if not an interesting figure. The Goodnight Moon author, whose life is the subject of a new biography, loved hunting, partying and staging stunts, among them founding a club that claimed they could reschedule Christmas. She kept homes in Greenwich Village and a tiny island off Maine. At Slate, Laura Miller reads the new book by Amy Gary. You could also read our own Jacob Lambert’s critical review of kid’s picture books.