Still deciding what to do this Friday night? Watch PBS’s new documentary on Alice Walker, Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth, at 9 p.m. EST. At The Daily Beast, Agunda Okeyo discusses the history of the film’s production, which took six years. “Stories about women of color told by women of color are sidelined and neglected in favor of our stories being told by white women and men,” director Pratibha Parmar says.
Having kicked off his career with a book of poetry, it’s not surprising that Ben Lerner is interested in the late Johns Hopkins professor Allen Grossman, who theorized that people dislike poetry because poems are — by definition — failures. In a piece for the LRB, he runs through the implications of Grossman’s theory, touching on poets as disparate as Shakespeare and William McGonagall. Pair with Kate Angus on why Americans don’t buy poetry books.
When The Beatles made Rubber Soul, the band probably didn’t realize it would inspire some of the greatest contemporary fiction. First, Haruki Murakami named his novel Norwegian Wood. Now, “Drive My Car” inspired his new short story. Bungeishunju published the story today, but English readers are still waiting on the translation. Until then, we can always listen to the album. Pair with: Our essay on the soundtracks behind books.
The Believer posts a 2003 essay featuring Donald Barthelme’s reading list, which came secondhand to Kevin Moffett, a self-professed non-reader: “Barthelme’s only guidance, passed on by Padgett Powell, one of Barthelme’s former students at the University of Houston and my teacher at the time, was to attack the books ‘in no particular order, just read them,’ which is exactly what I, in my confident illiteracy, resolved to do.” (via The Paris Review)
Out this week: Delicious Foods by James Hannaham; The Last Flight of Poxl West by Daniel Torday; Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum; The Other Joseph by Skip Horack; The Poser by Jacob Rubin; The Empire of the Senses by Alexis Landau; and The Dynamite Room by Jason Hewitt. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.