President Barack Obama shared his official summer reading list, featuring the likes of The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. For other recommended reading, don’t miss our Great Second-Half Book Preview.
Anne Carson has a new story in this week’s issue of The New Yorker, about swimming and its discontents. As she puts it, “People think swimming is carefree and effortless. A bath! In fact, it is full of anxieties.” Pair with her first published short story in the January issue of Harper's.
At The Chronicle of Higher Education, Rachel Toor channels George Orwell, immortal champion of good writing in English, to help young scholars avoid the ghastly prose style that dominates contemporary academic writing.
“I can tell you that, as of today, I don’t feel any different about Mr Whitehead, or his review, or my response.” Richard Ford doubles down on his reaction to a negative 2001 review by fellow novelist Colson Whitehead. (Said response, in case you missed it, was to tell Whitehead 'you’re a kid, you should grow up,' and spit in his face.) We hope Whitehead is laughing at home with his Pulitzer Prize, recently awarded for last year's literary juggernaut The Underground Railroad. And as our own Emily St. John Mandel reminds us, there are far more gracious ways to respond to criticism.
After three years of judging, and now "like one of those guys who comes back after graduation and loiters creepily around campus, remembering [his] faded glory days," our site's editor-in-chief C. Max Magee finally made it into the booth for the zombie round in The Morning News' Tournament of Books. Check out the perils of "the ARC onslaught" and which books were missing from the tournament altogether.
Fans of Theodore Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, often know that he had an earlier career as an ad agency illustrator, but how many of them know he was also an amateur taxidermist? "His father, superintendent of parks in Springfield, Mass., occasionally sent him antlers, bills and horns from deceased zoo animals," reports NPR, elements that Geisel then integrated into fantastical wall sculptures.