“Familiar, well-behaved stories are dressed in nice book covers and sent to our bookstores; from there they march to our homes in an orderly manner.” On Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and how publishing understands the immigrant narrative. Pair with our review of Adichie’s second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun.
Over at Catapult, Morgan Jerkins writes on calling Harlem home. As she puts it, “Blackness is not one specific characteristic. It is many things, things that I have yet to discover. It means that different variations of blackness can find home in one another.”
“Well, continuing with my policy of baring my soul, Dwight Garner said something like, the book was like one of those satellite photos of North Korea when I talked about the second marriage. I obviously had very little access to Updike from ‘77 on, really. And I cheated a bit by using Ian McEwan as my spy in the Updike household. First of all, Updike definitely did pull up the drawbridge and retire into his castle and I thought, in a sense, that this should be respected. He had decided on his persona, at that point—the highly professional man of letters. And I thought, why not let him go out with that persona intact?” At The Awl, Elon Green talks with Adam Begley about his new biography of John Updike.
“Soccer inspires passions that make fans do strange things, from the horrifying to the amusing.” Just in time for today’s game, our own Bill Morris writes about the World Cup, soccer hooliganism, and Bill Buford‘s Among the Thugs. Celebrate or mourn as you will, just please don’t start throwing beer bottles…
“And, it really means so much to us to watch our birds fly out of the high school nest and into an income bracket that could really benefit the Annual Fund this year. I mean, we have 85% of our goal, but as you know, that’s only a B. And we know that you are an A student.” Ah, what a heartwarming and totally genuine letter from my private, nonprofit high school congratulating me on my new job. Thanks, McSweeney’s.
“Sometimes I think I’ve lost my nerve a little bit. I think it’s growing older, and a certain reservoir of anger literally runs out.” The Guardian interviews James Wood, author and book critic at The New Yorker, about his craft, his forthcoming novel Upstate, and the landscape of today’s literary criticism. Pair with: an essay about the greatness (and great influence) of Wood on a fellow novelist.
Recommended Reading: This jarring, surreal “amalgamation of three different pieces” on Hannah Arendt by Bobbi Lurie over at 3:AM Magazine. Arendt, herself a political theorist, would likely have appreciated this piece from The Millions on the life and afterlife of literary theory.