Out this week: Startup by Doree Shafrir; Borne by Jeff VanderMeer; The Maids by Junichiro Tanizaki; The Last Neanderthal by our own Claire Cameron; and Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
Stephanie Danler’s best-selling, semi-autobiographical novel, Sweetbitter, has been given the green light by Starz network for a six-episode series. "As she learns the ropes of restaurant work, [Tess] falls for bad-boy bartender Jake, and makes her first forays into wine, drugs, lust, betrayal and adulthood," writes the Los Angeles Times. Pair with Jason Arthur's essay on novels about work.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has just released almost 400,000 high-resolution digital images of its collections. Among them are thousands of illustrations from bygone days when "picture books" were not for children alone. Pair with Buzz Poole's reviews of contemporary works of visual literature in The Millions archives, from hand-drawn self-help quotes to politically-charged images of transit in Tehran.
"It’s not clear whether he really went mad or not, but he was admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics—an admirably blunt name, no?"— Frank Key writes about Christopher Smart, "an intimate of Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, and Henry Fielding" and an excellent cat poet, for the Public Domain Review.
Since his death in 1950, George Orwell has grown more and more popular, so much so that his eponymous adjective is now widely used even by ideological enemies. So how did this state of affairs come about? In the new Intelligent Life, an offshoot of The Economist, Robert Butler delves into the story of how Orwell became an icon. Pair with: Vishwas Gaitonde on his visit to Orwell’s birthplace.
Why is Hamlet so maddeningly indecisive? It’s a question as well-trod as any in literature, yet few people question that dithering is what defines the Prince of Denmark. In The Irish Times, Brian Dillon looks at another way of thinking about the character, one laid out in a recent book, that centers on the idea that Hamlet is crippled by “the burden of knowledge itself.”