“Hunkered down in muddy trenches, the doomed scions of aristocratic families would take out their pocket editions of Housman and pine for the idealized, vanishing England they were fighting for.” On Peter Parker’s new book on A.E. Housman.
Celebrate the start of baseball season and the beginning of National Poetry Month at the same time by reading Hobart’s annual Baseball Issue. This year, the site plans on rolling out “daily baseball stories, poems, essays, and other baseball miscellany,” so it’s pretty much the Venn diagram overlap of all of your April needs.
The Atlantic discusses the link between science fiction and colonialism. “The fact that colonialism is so central to science-fiction, and that science-fiction is so central to our own pop culture, suggests that the colonial experience remains more tightly bound up with our political life and public culture than we sometimes like to think.”
It’s a big week for new books. Amitav Ghosh’s River of Smoke is now out, as is Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks, Chango’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes by William Kennedy, Luminous Airplanes by Paul La Farge, and The Funny Man by John Warner, who recently appeared in these pages. Philip Roth’s American Trilogy is getting the Library of America treatment. (Capsule previews of all of the preceding titles are available here, incidentally). New in non-fiction is Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve: How the World Became Modern and Susan Orlean’s Rin Tin Tin. And out in paperback: none other than Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom.
The Kilroys, a group of leaders in American theater, has put together a list of 46 plays by emerging women playwrights that they think deserve to produced (only 10.5% of Broadway plays are written by women). That list is a brilliant resource to promote diversity in dramatic literature–but now we want to read all the unpublished plays on it.
As you probably read last week, Elon Musk (founder and CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX) is sure that we’re living in a computer-generated simulation. Over at The New Yorker, Joshua Rothman takes a hard look and tries to determine the actual odds of humans inhabiting a simulated world.