Recommended reading: The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the new modesty of literary criticism and the complicated relationship between texts, critics, and politics. For more on the balance between art and politics, look no further than Jonathan Clarke‘s Millions essay, “Alive with Disagreement and Dissent.”
“F. Scott Fitzgerald is known as one of America’s greatest authors, but was he also responsible for one of football’s most important strategic advances? Maybe. Possibly. Probably not.” Kevin Draper writes about Fitzgerald’s love and possible genius for the game.
Millions staff writer Michael Bourne wrote a sobering piece for Canada’s Globe and Mail about the need for stricter gun control in the United States. “I can implore my new neighbours to maintain strict controls on guns,” he writes. “All our children’s lives depend upon it.”
Azadeh Moaveni writes about what it was like to own her dog, named London, in Iran: “Most Turks, like most Iranians, recoiled from dogs as though they were grotesque vermin; only ‘guard’ dogs, charged with protecting humans and their goods, were deemed less offensive, though still repellent.” To Moaveni, it was like cultural rebellion.
Yes, but what’s everyone else reading this summer? Bookstores in beach towns know better than to stock “business, personal finance, or diet” books–though poetry does pretty well–but they are looking forward to these bestsellers. The print-disinclined can take heart that there are even a fair number of literary movies coming out soon. (Related: our own recommended summer reading list, also blessedly personal finance-free.)
In The Atlantic Adrienne Green reviews the growing number of Young Adult novels tackling racial injustice and how this increase on the topic is no coincidence. “Coming out of the crucible of the past few years—during which young people have been integral to pushing conversations about the unjustified killings of black men to the forefront—the novels capture the many ways that teens of color cope with prejudice, whether through activism or personal accountability or protest.”
Fans of Moby-Dick should read Nathaniel Philbrick’s outstanding historical account In the Heart of the Sea. The book, which tracks the fate of The Essex, a New England whaling vessel sunk by a humongous sperm whale in the South Pacific, is vivid and harrowing. It’s also, as it turns out, only one of the naval catastrophes to befall George Pollard, Jr., The Essex‘s captain: a second wreck of his was recently located off the coast of Hawaii.