“When she began the cancer memoir, it was the fact of the writing, more than what was to be written, that mattered.” On Jenny Diski’s way of seeing beyond the story.
Out this week is Russian author Vladimir Sorokin’s Day of the Oprichnik. Coinciding with that release, NYRB Classics is putting out Sorokin’s Ice Trilogy. Georges Perec’s The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise is now on shelves, as is Stewart O’Nan’s Emily, Alone, in which he revisits the Maxwell family from his 2002 book Wish You Were Here.
“I struggled, quite a bit, writing this review. Reviewing books, while easy in certain ways — you have certain aspects of form to follow, there are certain features of books that cannot go unremarked: one must write about character, about language, about technique — and really a rather simple process (much simpler, it would seem, than writing books), can also be a pain. Especially, frustratingly enough, when the book is really good.” On Lola Lafon’s We Are the Birds of the Coming Storm.
The good souls at Longform.org have organized all of this year’s National Magazine Award winners.
We’ve published a fair number of pieces about the import of book covers. You may have read one of our US-UK book cover battles. Over at The Awl, Amanda Pickering takes a look at one of the stranger aspects of book design: the animals that appear on the covers of programming books.
“The most unfortunate / Thing about history / Is not pornos. No, it is how Americans / (And we were talking about men but may I take this opportunity / To be more inclusive, because inclusivity is in!) were once better than they are at present.” In which an imagined David Brooks writes a sestina about misogyny. Here’s a Millions piece in which the real-life Brooks is thought of not as a pariah, but as a harbinger of hope.
Jessica Francis Kane’s mother worked for Playboy back in the 1960s, a time “when it was an intellectual magazine as well as a pinup, when people really did subscribe to it for the articles.” Over at The Morning News, Kane shares a fascinating interview with her mother, and they talk about what it was “like to be a woman … in such a sexy workplace at such a weird time.”