Out this week: She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore; Crudo by Olivia Laing; Ordinary People by Diana Evans; The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman; The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar; and The Personality Brokers by Merve Emre.
Growing up, Judy Bolton-Fasman watched her mother study Don Quixote, propping the book up on their kitchen counter while studying for her Master’s in Spanish literature. Her mother was a native speaker, but Cervantes was still a tough writer to figure out, especially if you were reading his work while trying to cook dinner in the background. The author looks back on her mother’s education in a Saturday Essay for The Rumpus.
Despair, debt, frustration, a decade in school rewarded with guaranteed joblessness. If this cocktail of woe sounds good to you, consider getting a Ph.D. in English, History, or any other humanities discipline. At the New York Times, yet another of the recent spate of articles explaining how utterly dismal the prospects of recent humanities Ph.D.s are.
“Legal writing, save for the prose of a precious few lawyers and judges, has rarely contributed to the literary enterprise. Yet there are times when legal proceedings have helped the public at large to reconsider the experience of reading in commercial, emotional, and intellectual terms.” Ian Crouch on the odd experience of reading the statements of Lance Armstrong.
Penny Perkins interviews Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty author Ramona Ausubel at The Rumpus. “I realized that this book I was writing about money had to be about race and it had to be about class and it had to be about privilege, and which of those things we are able to see and which we are blind to.” Pair with Ausubel’s writing at The Millions.
At Brain Pickings, Maria Popova meditates on attention and the works of Simone Weil, among them Gravity and Grace. Popova writes that Weil “wrote beautifully of attention as contemplative practice through which we reap the deepest rewards of our humanity.”
Adobe Books may become Adobe Books and Arts Cooperative thanks to a collection of young, influential artists who do not want to see their favorite bookstore/community space close its doors. You know, the one that records its book sales in a composition notebook, not a computer system. (h/t Lydia Kiesling)