“Other favorites I’ve found myself overusing include ‘she nodded,’ ‘she raised her eyebrows,’ and ‘she walked home slowly / she slowly walked home.’” Maria Murnane writes for the Amazon Author Insights blog (full disclosure: Amazon helps us keep the lights on around here!) about how to watch out for crutch words.
"American television has been a juvenile medium for most of its existence," David Simon tells Salon. This defense of 'Treme' was published three days after David Thier called the show "deeply boring" in The Atlantic. "There is nothing New Orleans loves so much as New Orleans" Thier says, "but the show can't get past the desire to be authentic." Sarah Broom, during last May's PEN World Voices Festival, said "this 'love of place' is really just from people who are stuck in a lots of ways." But hey, at least the show's attention to detail is admirable.
In Florida, legislators are wondering whether or not they should raise tuition costs for students studying the humanities, or really anything other than STEM fields. Likewise, James Dyson (yes, the vacuum guy) bemoans Britain's abundance of "students choosing to read humanities at university." As a rejoinder, one New Statesman blogger notes that the study of humanities does not inhibit technological innovation, and that as a bonus, "we gain from having people who reshape our cultural landscape and put things in new contexts."
Last week, I wrote about the disparity between Norman Rockwell’s inner life and the cheerful art that made the painter famous. In the new issue of The Atlantic, James Parker writes about the “unconscious energy” of Rockwell’s work, while on the magazine’s website, Jennie Rothenberg Gritz republishes an old article that examines how Rockwell’s style could seem outdated even in the fifties.
Has Edward St. Aubyn killed the existentialist novel? Jacob Kiernan at Full Stop Magazine has a few ideas about it. If it’s existential quandary you’re after, this essay for The Millions on the beautiful afterlife of books–which may not be so much of an afterlife, after all–will be perfect for you.
This week we have new on shelves: Julie Orringer's hotly anticipated debut novel The Invisible Bridge; Meghan Daum's memoir of real estate addiction Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House, Private Life by Jane Smiley, and The Singer's Gun by our own Emily St. John Mandel.
"Joseph K., that icon of single-lettered anonymity from Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial," writes Tom Engelhardt for Guernica, "would undoubtedly have felt right at home in [James] Clapper’s Washington."
Hollywood Notebook by Wendy Ortiz is both a book of poetry and a memoir. Composed of several prose poems, the book depicts her evolution into a poet in her early thirties, following up where her previous memoir Excavation left off. At The Rumpus, Lesley Heiser analyses the book, with references to Phil Klay’s Redeployment and Hermione Lee’s biography of Virginia Woolf.
When Pleasanton mom Siah Fried and her co-author wrote Tales from Swankville, a book about hyper-competitive parenting in suburbia, they didn't expect their neighbors to take it so personally.