“At first blush, bringing an eight-year-old to one of William Shakespeare’s quirkier plays in an effort to help her see herself, an Asian American girl, in popular culture did seem a rather odd decision.” Nicole Chung for Hazlitt on The Winter’s Tale, representation, and parenting in the age of Trump. And wouldn’t you know it, we have a piece specifically about that very play – “three/fifths wintry tragedy, two/fifths vernal comedy, and wholly a masterwork” – right here.
New from Stephen Fry: Stephen Fry in America: Fifty States and the Man Who Set Out to See Them All, a book recounting his travels in America while filming the BBC series of the same name–enlighteningly and entertainingly reviewed at The Washington Times. Includes the shocking revelation that Fry very nearly became an American!
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The New Yorker has collected all the stories from its 20 under 40 series into a single, snappy volume, on sale now. Also out this week is the third volume of Edmund Morris’ biography of Teddy Roosevelt and a new literary foray by comedian Steve Martin, An Object of Beauty.
It’s been forty years since a burst of new critical attention gave Anthony Trollope a new life. What is it about him that makes his work enduringly relevant? In the latest New Yorker, Adam Gopnik argues that the author was a master of gossip. You could also read Sara Henary on the author’s two hundredth birthday.
Sarah Fay, associate editor of The Paris Review, has a piece in The Atlantic on the digitization of book reviewing, framed beautifully by references to George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Confessions of a Book Reviewer.” She praises Bookslut, Nancy Pearl, Goodreads, and The Los Angeles Review of Books for their collective skills of recommendation, reviewing, and New Criticism. I’d add The Quarterly Conversation, The Rumpus, The New Inquiry, The Morning News (for their annual Tournament of Books feature), and of course, The Millions.
Recent Pulitzer laureate Adam Johnson has a new short story in Esquire, and it’s a doozy, invoking drone strikes, Obama and Kurt Cobain in the course of its tightly-knit plot. Sample quote: “I wonder if the First Lady was the one to turn off the machine.”
I’m feeling surprisingly broken up about this: Reading Rainbow comes to the end of its 26-year run on Friday.
“It only took me 10 years to get the verb tenses right!” Our own Garth Risk Hallberg reflects on the process of updating his debut novella, A Field Guide to the North American Family, recently reissued in a new edition by Knopf. See also: our interview with him on the occasion of the release of his blockbuster City on Fire.