Out this week: Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich; Improvement by Joan Silber; Bunk by Kevin Young; Debriefing: Collected Stories by Susan Sontag; and Don’t Save Anything by James Salter. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
"Her exchanges with Americans in small towns and rural communities are inspiring an appreciation of poetry and history – and remind us that poetry has value for all of our lives." The Library of Congress appointed Tracy K. Smith to a second term as the 22nd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2018-2019. For her second term, Smith edited an anthology called American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time, which will be published by Graywolf Press in association with the Library of Congress. Pair with: our review of Smith's memoir, Ordinary Light.
The Daily Bruin is a running a stunning multimedia series about “the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Malawi, a country that outlaws homosexuality and in which UCLA has a strong research presence.” Two recent UCLA graduates – Sonali Kohli and Blaine Ohigashi – spent 24 days interviewing LGBT Malawians, activists and researchers “about the healthcare and human rights challenges the community faces.” As with the 40 Towns project I’ve mentioned previously, the result of Kohli and Ohigashi’s reportage is a testament to the quality of student journalism.
Zadie Smith could write herself out of a Chinese takeout box, and that's exactly what she does in her essay on the differences between British and American takeout culture, "Take It Or Leave It," for The New Yorker. "I don’t think any nation should elevate service to the status of culture."
“Me? He wants me to give him advice? But why? I still have no idea what I am doing. Then I realized that I did, at least, have eight more years of a writing practice that had run in tandem with a life of odd jobs, graduate school, starting a business, traveling, etc. I thought about an anecdote my friend Daniel once told me about what happened when Ian McEwan was asked to give advice to a young writer just starting out. He simply said, ‘Be successful.’” Catherine Lacey gives advice to a not-much-younger writer.