“An appeal for the revival of the negative book review, then, is a remonstration against forced and foppish praise, where everything is good and so nothing at all is good.” In The Baffler, Rafia Zakaria writes in praise of negative book reviews and decries the “enfeebling of literary criticism.” From our archives: our own Emily St. John Mandel writes about bad book reviews.
The Believer posts a 2003 essay featuring Donald Barthelme’s reading list, which came secondhand to Kevin Moffett, a self-professed non-reader: “Barthelme’s only guidance, passed on by Padgett Powell, one of Barthelme’s former students at the University of Houston and my teacher at the time, was to attack the books ‘in no particular order, just read them,’ which is exactly what I, in my confident illiteracy, resolved to do.” (via The Paris Review)
“What do I want to say with this new language that I can’t say in my native language—or any other language that currently exists?” From The Lord of the Rings to A Game of Thrones, Josephine Livingstone explores the history of invented languages, over at The New Republic.
The Washington Post interviews four Young Adult authors whose books go beyond coming out stories, these authors want queer love stories to be mainstream. Their books range from contemporary to historical to fantasy. “As authors get more comfortable exploring LGBT storylines, the coming-out tale isn’t disappearing. ‘I think we’ll always need for the foreseeable future both types of stories,” Silvera added. “While I’ve been so happy being able to live an out life, I think a lot about teens who aren’t able to be out right now and I want to write for them.’ Slipping back in time to write for teenagers gives authors the opportunity to explore first love again.” Take a look and consider adding these to your reading list.
New this week: Craig Thompson’s long-awated follow up to Blankets is here. Stay tuned for our review of Habibi later this week. Also new: Neal Stephenson’s Reamde, Aravind Adiga’s Last Man in Tower, Joe McGinniss’s much leaked exposé The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, and a new, posthumous collection of Shel Silverstein’s poetry and drawings, Every Thing On It.