“Romance heroines hold jobs. They teach, farm, practice law, work independently as private detectives, or they are involved in the arts, in dance, in theater. They are mothers, ex-wives, Marines. They take up causes and they always want something ‘more’ from their lives—and we aren’t just talking about a partner. In today’s romance, the relationship is part of—and often, a catalyst for—a woman’s journey, not her destination.” On the value of romance fiction.
Ayobami Adebayo is interviewed by Abigail Bereola for Hazlitt and it's fantastic. They discuss proverbs, romantic love, sickle cell anemia and writing your first book. "At the risk of sounding very narcissistic, I’m going to say I write for myself ultimately. And maybe my sister. I think that when I’m working, it’s very difficult for me to think about an audience, perhaps because sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming. I’m trying to figure out so many things that I really don’t start thinking about the idea that other people might read this thing until, 'Oh my God, it’s publication day' and I have a panic attack like 'Oh my God, what have I done?' I think the awareness of an audience is something I’m just coming into because this is a first book."
JSTOR will be making 500,000 articles from over 200 journals freely available to the public. These will include items published before 1923 in the US, and published before 1870 abroad. Earlier this month, I rounded up a few pieces by people who think the entire database should be free.
London is the most popular literary city. Graphic designer Edgard Barbosa made an infographic that visualizes the number of English-language books written about 10 international cities from 1800 to 2000. The locales include Rome, New York City, London, Paris, Tokyo, Madrid, Beijing, Chicago, Cairo, and Mumbai.
We're a little late to The Guardian's Families in Literature series, which includes essays on everyone from the March sisters to the Moomins and has been running for the last few weeks. A particular favorite is Moira Redmond's look at Brideshead Revisited's Flytes and the strange but true power of falling in love with an entire family, which pairs well with our own Lydia Kiesling's Modern Library Revue of the novel.
Three Percent is organizing a “World Cup of Literature” to coincide with the international soccer tournament’s June 12th beginning. The rules are simple: literature from each of the 32 countries in the actual World Cup will be put into a “32-book knock-out tournament,” and “each ‘match’ will pit two books against one another and will be judged by one of … fifteen illustrious judges.” Who’s your early favorite? (Bonus: “What happened when 10 European poets were asked to portray their home country in verse ahead of the European elections?”)
Fresh Air’s Terry Gross sits down with Jonathan Franzen to talk about Purity, writing, and the possibility of parenthood. “I’ve always thought of myself as a comic novelist. It’s a tough road to hoe because comedy means light in people’s mind. There was an ambitious part of me that kind of chafed and was secretly relieved when the comedy was overlooked, but at a certain point, it becomes wearing for people not to get the humor.” Pair with our review of the novel.