Out this week: How to Be Famous by Caitlin Moran; The World Is a Narrow Bridge by Aaron Thier; Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young; The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness by Graham Caveney; and What to Read and Why by Francine Prose.
“Joy and wonder. That’s at the heart of what I love about the natural world. If you’re receptive to it, it does something to human minds that nothing else can do.” Electric Literature talks with Helen MacDonald about living with, and like, a goshawk. Pair with Madeleine Larue‘s Millions review of MacDonald’s H is for Hawk.
It goes without saying that a man dubbed “the father of modern conservatism” might stir up contentious debates. In his heyday, Edmund Burke was so renowned as a thinker that his detractors tried to place him at the center of conspiracy theories. In a new biography, Jesse Norman tackles Burke’s thought in its entirety — a task which, in Charles Hill’s view, is nothing if not un-Burkean.
Philosopher and flower hater Slavoj Žižek comes late to the “let’s discuss The Wire‘s greater cultural significance” party, but he does bring some excellent points with him. For the record, he doesn’t believe it’s the greatest TV series of all time. And the entire thing is worth hearing if only for an in-depth analysis of this [NSFW] scene.
The Virginia Quarterly Review launched their redesigned website this week, and it’s a sight to behold. To celebrate the occasion, the magazine has dropped its paywall through Valentine’s Day, so start exploring. I recommend starting with Kevin Young’s recent poem, “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out,” which he composed entirely out of song lyrics.
After visiting more than 2,000 of America’s independent bookstores, Kate Brittain found herself thinking their demise might not be so inevitable. The cards, she writes, remain stacked against them, but they nonetheless offer a few things that may well keep them in demand. Pair with: our tribute to e-book pioneer Michael Hartt.
“The French writer Marcel Proust paid for glowing reviews of the first volume of his Remembrance of Things Past to be put into newspapers.” Letters by Proust, which will be auctioned off at Soethby’s in Paris next month, reveal he was willing to pay handsomely for flattering references to his novel. See also: the first entry of The Millions’ Hannah Gersen‘s column, The Proust Book Club.