Must female characters always stand in the shadow of the institution of marriage? Ivan Kreilkamp writes on female bachelors, from Renata Adler’s Speedboat to Elizabeth Hardwick’s Sleepless Nights. Pair with this Millions essay on Adler’s piecemeal novel.
Once Again, this December we will be hosting our Year in Reading series, and this year's installment is shaping up to be our most fascinating and star-studded yet. While you wait, enjoy last year's series all over again, and please consider learning about the five easy (even free!) ways you can support The Millions and our year-end extravaganza this holiday season.
"Nobody there but dirty old men who spit tobacco juice and try to look up your skirt." The city square is one of the biggest architectural differences between the United States and Europe. Over at The Daily Beast, George Packer takes a look at plazas/piazzas and makes a case for why America needs more.
A couple weeks ago, our own Janet Potter reviewed Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, a new book which examines the rise of public shaming on social media. In the Times, Ronson takes part in the paper’s By the Book series, several entries of which we’ve written about before. Among other things, he recommends The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and Violence by James Gilligan.
For Perry Link, it was embarrassing to read Eileen Chang for the first time, because her work revealed things about China it took him too long to learn on his own. In The New York Review of Books, he writes about how Naked Earth, which the magazine's publishing arm is republishing in June, cut through the jargon of Chairman Mao’s regime. FYI, Jamie Fisher wrote an essay on the book for The Millions.
We’ve all heard stories about fans who root through the trash of Hollywood celebrities. But what about those rare birds who root through the trash of famous authors? Herewith, Adrienne LaFrance relates the story of Paul Moran, a Salem, MA resident who picked through John Updike’s garbage. It’s probably a good time to read our review of Adam Begley’s biography of Updike.
"Did you know that alcohol originally meant eyeshadow, clouds were rocks or that a moment once lasted precisely 90 seconds?" From The Guardian, 10 words that no longer mean what they used to. And if you enjoy that trip down etymology lane, you'll probably also dig this week's piece about the curse words of Charles Dickens.