Sam Tanenhaus asks, What do this season’s political books tell us about the election? As he puts it, “Election-year analyses always seem to arrive too late or too soon. They are useful nonetheless. The mistakes and misapprehensions — what the authors thought they knew — mirror the broader thinking of their moment.” Pair with this Millions essay on politics and excessive language.
“When I was younger, I finished everything. I was a total martyr. Now … I’m getting older. We have a finite amount of time on this earth. If something really doesn’t speak to you, and there’s not a ride-or-die reason to read it all the way through, then it’s time to give up.” Ten questions for Lisa Lucas, the new(ish) director of the National Book Foundation.
You should check out George Saunders’s “Liner Notes” piece about “2776: A Musical Journey Through America’s Past, Present & Future,” which is set to accompany a forthcoming musical-comedy album from Patton Oswalt, Aubrey Plaza, Ira Glass, and Yo La Tengo, among others. If that hasn’t sold you, consider the fact that Saunders’s piece contains this line: “Truth be told, there were a number of regrettable omissions. Beyoncé and Jay Z’s piece ‘Bomber’ had to be left off the album. (‘Driver of this plane, this / B-52 on the way to Nagasaki / Stuff your ears with cotton and / Close those eyes / Me and my man are about to do it all over this / Here bomb’).”
Literary critic Amitava Kumar has written a personal essay for the Chronicle on his experience reading from Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses at the Jaipur Literary Festival in India, where the work has banned for 23 years. Read The Millions coverage of the festival here.
Patrick Bateman as internet troll? I could see it. Bret Easton Ellis, author of American Psycho, stopped by Town and Country to muse over how an early-twentieth century Patrick Bateman might behave a bit differently: “I check in with Patrick every now and then—as with this article you’re reading—but he has been living his own life for some time now, and I rarely feel as if I have guardianship over him, or any right to tell him where he would or would not be today, decades after his birth.”
Librarians might frown on P.D.A. in the library, that is, Public Displays of Affection by canoodling college couples. But another kind of P.D.A. might bring a different, more welcome sort of disruption to the library: Patron-Driven Acquisition, a model of e-book licensing that aims to relieve library purchasing agents from spending thousands on books nobody will end up reading.