Carla Hayden became the first African American woman to be the Librarian of Congress on Wednesday.
Caitlin Flanagan’s long Atlantic piece on Joan Didion has sparked a lot of conversation. Among the article’s contentious lines: “to really love Joan Didion … you have to be female.”
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.)