“Set in the 2020s and 2030s in a collapsing and crashed America, the Parables books have always seemed incredibly and disturbingly prescient—and in the wake of November 8, 2016 they now seem downright spooky, the actual and accurate history of the future.” How Octavia Butler predicted the present. See also: our consideration of Butler’s novel Kindred.
“Still, it’s difficult to know whether [Shel] Silverstein, who died of a heart attack in 1999, after keeping out of the public eye for more than two decades, meant for us to read the book so conclusively. His biography and body of work suggest a subtler, and, in the end, perhaps an even more troubling, way of looking at it.” Ruth Margalit on The Giving Tree.
Over at Hyperallergic, art, activism, and literature collide in When We Fight, We Win!: Twenty-First-Century Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World by Greg Jobin-Leeds and AgitArte. Pair with our own Bill Morris’s review of The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975.
“Baker is such a wonderful prose stylist that he could probably get away with publishing his diary—which, for epic stretches, is what Substitute feels like.” Over at The Nation, Evan Kindley reviews Nicholson Baker‘s latest, a 700-plus-page non-fiction exploration of substitute teaching. Spoiler: it’s not as sexy as Baker’s other work. If it’s the sex you want, see our primer on Baker’s novels; also immensely entertaining, our interview with the author from 2013.
Recommended Reading: Ted Widmer on the miscellaneous writings of Abraham Lincoln.
The fiftieth anniversary of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is coming up on October 13th, so to get ready, pour yourself a drink (or five), don your best academic tweeds, and read these interviews with playwright Edward Albee and audience members who attended the play’s original 1962 run.
In an effort to diversify the comics industry, Marvel’s latest superhero isn’t another white man in a cape but a teenage Muslim girl living in Jersey City. Kamala Khan, alias Ms. Marvel, can change shape and will fight villains and her parents’ expectations when the series debuts in February. Pair with: Matt Madden’s history of American comics in six panels.