“Are you sure you need to give me that summer reading list-library flyer-academic camp brochure? Are you sure that I can’t just let my kids get dumber by 1/3rd until they come back here in the fall like we all used to?” Are you sure there isn’t anything I can do? Welcome to every teacher’s nightmare, courtesy of McSweeney’s.
Chances are you’ve heard that in a recent interview, Claire Messud responded to a patronizing question about one of her characters — “I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you?” — by giving her interviewer a smackdown that resonated across the blogosphere. At Page-Turner, several authors (including Rivka Galchen, Jonathan Franzen and Year in Reading alumna Margaret Atwood) offer their own takes on the matter of “likeability.” (There’s also this piece by our own Emily St. John Mandel to consider.)
In the latest entry in By Heart, which I’ve written about before, Thirty Girls author Susan Minot explains why she prefers to read multiple books at once instead of reading through single books from start to finish. Her reasoning? Books are “worlds to dip in and out of, and my relationship to them is continually deepening and evolving.”
“In the aftermath of tragedies, people become obsessive, do strange things. As the tragedy recedes and is sewn up into the past, these strange things appear increasingly weird to casual observers.” At The Rumpus, our own Lydia Kiesling reviews Donna Tartt’s new novel The Goldfinch, which centers around a fictional bombing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Poor Robert Frost can’t catch a break. Last month, we wrote about the Kansas man who stole a bronze bust of the poet. Now, a Vermont man has been charged with stealing Frost’s personal letters and Christmas cards that were left in a desk donated to the non-profit where he worked. He also sold them for $25,000 but only has to pay an $100 fine.