Hooray, poetry! This piece from The New York Times highlights three new collections you should consider checking out: Shaler’s Fish by Helen Macdonald, Poems by Ron Rash, and Blue Laws by Kevin Young.
It's been one week since the "Friday Night Lights" finale aired on network television, and it seems as though the entire internet is grieving. Two Grantland pieces: an oral history and a tongue-in-cheek analysis; an opinion piece juxtaposing Peter Berg's low-rated drama against "Glee"'s success; and now even The Paris Review has thrown its hat into the ring. All of this, of course, comes on the heels of our own Sonya Chung's piece last April.
Jacob Silverman tackles the niceness epidemic besieging literary criticism at the moment. Where have the hatchet jobs gone? Is social media’s “communalism” robbing critics of their fangs? Each time a publication refuses to print a negative review, the act amounts to “a victory for a publicist, but not for readers,” he writes. (Just a few notes: Silverman's piece is based on a blog post he wrote recently; Emma Straub has responded on her own blog; and, for what it's worth, our own Michael Bourne’s recent review of Richard Ford’s Canada was pretty toothy.)
Recommended reading: Alex Beam on the distinction between books and "books."