So does literature really have the power to bring liberals and conservatives together? Probably not. Either way, this is still a fascinating study: “The ‘most startling result was this: it was conservative — not liberal — readers who are most active in producing this space of cultural compromise.’ Basically, within this sample size, conservative readers tended to exude more generous praise for ‘bridge books’ and did so with a vernacular considered to be ‘less heated or emotional.’ Grammatically, they also expressed ‘more complex thoughts.'”
"Let the buppie and the arts section go to hell: Swiss Army Man is a film by which critics ought to judge ourselves. We have seen this movie before, in our dreams, when we were children. Its extraordinary contact with our oldest forms of storytelling seems to have rendered it an unintelligible novelty, but if we can’t see how gracefully everything in it matters to everything else in it — plot to character development to dialogue to music to art direction to setting to acting to cinematography — then there’s something wrong with us." Daniel Radcliffe stars as a semi-animate, gas-filled corpse with amnesia in Swiss Army Man -- a movie about farts. But what else is it about?
Read about Hitler’s vacation homes and how they shaped his image via propaganda in an excerpt from Hitler at Home by Despina Stratigakos at The New Republic. We reviewed Ben Urwand’s book The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler, which discusses other propaganda surrounding the Nazi regime.
Next week, Martin Amis will publish Zone of Interest, a dark new novel that takes place, like his earlier Time’s Arrow, in Nazi-occupied lands during the Holocaust. In this week’s New Yorker, Joyce Carol Oates reviews the book, suggesting that Amis is most compelling when he writes as a “satiric vivisectionist.” You could also read our own Mark O’Connell on Lionel Asbo: State of England.
Planning on writing a prison scene? Worried your characters might sound a bit unrealistic? Then see if you can get your hands on the Bonne Terre dictionary. Written by inmates at a prison in Louisiana, the dictionary includes such idiosyncratic terms as “boat,” meaning a plastic bed, and “pumpkin,” meaning a new inmate.
Book to movie news: Soon to hit theaters is a big-screen take on Allen Ginsburg's Howl, focusing on the obscenity trial Ginsberg faced after the publication of the poem and starring James Franco as Ginsberg (alongside Jon Hamm and Jeff Daniels). (The trailer). The film includes an animation of the poem itself by illustrator Eric Drooker. Art from the animation has been collected in a new book under the title Howl: A Graphic Novel.
Let’s play a game: a “lazy Sunday” version of a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. Ready? Good. Imagine you’re hanging out with Junot Díaz today. What do you want to do? Select Option A to go barhopping. Select Option B to go comic book shopping. Select Option C to read an excerpt from his new book, This Is How You Lose Her. Or Select Option D to read Leah Hager Cohen's review of the collection. There is no wrong answer.