“While I’m glad we’ve had this chance to talk, because of time constraints I cannot answer these basic questions about race and how racism works.” Colson Whitehead considers new business cards. See our review of his Pulitzer-winning The Underground Railroad here.
Fellow children of the ‘90s will remember how much that decade was a kind of Golden Age for disaster movies. Then as now, explosive blockbusters like Independence Day, Twister and Dante’s Peak satisfied a collective appetite for wide-scale destruction and mayhem. At The Morning News, Ethan Gilsdorf considers what the genre’s evolution has to say about us.
A couple years ago, Robert Birnbaum interviewed Edith Pearlman for The Millions, asking why the highly regarded short story writer didn’t hit it big until recently. Now, in the Times, Laura van den Berg reads Pearlman’s book Honeydew, in a piece that nicely complements Steve Almond’s profile of the author. FYI, Laura van den Berg has written for us.
In their closing statements, Russian dissidents du jour Pussy Riot cited the authors who inspired them and placed themselves in Russia’s rich history of imprisoning their artists. Also check out Carol Rumens’s excellent translation of the song that landed Pussy Riot in hot water.
The process of “Russification” is almost as old as Russia itself, yet to see it take shape in the present day can be quite distressing. In particular, Vladimir Putin’s recent proposal in Nezavisimaya Gazeta — in which the prime minister called for a “Russian canon” of literary works — has some people worried about its insidious potential for propaganda. Count Alexander Nazaryan among that group.
A newly released Roald Dahl collection, The Missing Golden Ticket and Other Splendiferous Secrets, includes a secret ending to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and excerpts from the author’s hilariously bad report cards. Wrote one teacher about Dahl in 1931: “A persistent muddler. Vocabulary negligible, sentences malconstructed. He reminds me of a camel.” (via Galley Cat)