Out this week: The Census by Jesse Ball; Whiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith; The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea; Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala; Happiness by Aminatta Forna; and Wrestling with the Devil by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o.
If your default mood hovers between melancholy and despair, you may be cheered (or at least made a bit less glum) by this argument that striving for happiness is bad for us in the long run. Mari Ruti makes the case that a “happy, balanced life” depends in large part on a kind of emotional numbness.
“Like walkie-talkies that require a button be pressed to speak and released to hear, does reading require that either the voice of the author or the voice of the reader’s consciousness be silenced at any given moment? Such an analogy suggests that reading is an act of hospitality toward another’s mind, in which we silence our voice in courtesy to the voice of another’s consciousness, a voice that alternates with our own in conversation.” John Biguenet on silent reading.
Crime novelist Sue Grafton passed away earlier this week from cancer. Lit Hub and Vulture both have touching tributes to her and her detective series starring Kinsey Millhone. “Grafton belonged to a cluster of female authors who viewed the private-detective subgenre, previously dominated by Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Grafton’s own hero, Ross Macdonald, in desperate need of subverting” and “The annual release of her latest Kinsey Millhone novel was, for generations of devotees, one of the year’s premier literary events. ” Rest in peace Ms. Grafton.