“It was a remarkable scene, to witness young people collectively shatter one another’s sense of social isolation.” Clint Smith for The New Yorker‘s Page-Turner blog about teaching Invisible Man to a high school class full of undocumented immigrants.
Out this week: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid; South and West: From a Notebook by Joan Didion; All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg; Ill Will by Dan Chaon; The Accusation by Bandi; The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge; and American Berserk by our own Bill Morris. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
If you like your music country/folk-ish with a difference, Joshua James new album Build Me This might be of interest. No Depression, the roots music blog, describes the album as a hybrid of “chain-gang chants, country-fuzz rave-ups, gospel rafter-raisers, southern blues grinds, and civil war camp songs.” Try not to be taken aback by the Jared Leto-in-a-mud-mask cover art.
Roger Boylan at the Boston Review writes about the flourishing posthumous career of Mark Twain: “…more than 5,000 previously unknown letters of Twain’s have surfaced in the last 50 years. This represents an average of two new letters per week, but still only about one-tenth of the 50,000 or so he is believed to have written.” And at Slate, Craig Fehrman discusses the “brilliant brand management” behind the handling of Twain’s autobiography.
Laila Lalami recently wrote about “How History Becomes Story,” but writing an interesting and compelling history book sans fiction has its own challenges. Thankfully S.C. Gwynne offers some tips in a piece for the History News Network, including the hard-hitting reminder that “it is your job to force your facts into narrative form.”