The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton‘s classic coming-of-age novel about Socs and Greasers in Tulsa, Okla., has been a staple of required reading in schools since its publication in 1967—even gaining new life as a 1983 film by Francis Ford Coppola (which starred much of the ’80s Brat Pack). Now the book returns in a new form: a musical. According to Deadline, a musical adaptation of The Outsiders is scheduled to debut in Chicago this summer, directed by Liesl Tommy and written by Adam Rapp. Time will tell whether or not audiences will be treated to a touching ballad called “Stay Gold,” or a choreographed rumble featuring the Socs versus the Greasers.
“We all use a ‘persona’ or mask, to some degree, all the time,” writes poet Robert Pinsky as he challenges the notion—widely held in English classes throughout the world—that a poem’s “speaker” is necessarily separate from a poem’s author. The latest release from Pinsky, the former Poet Laureate of the United States, is Selected Poems, and you can hear him read some excerpts in this video.
In the latest Baffler, Evgeny Morozov argues that Silicon Valley, in typical fashion, has taken to “hacking” our language. Old, trusted words don’t mean what they used to mean, and complex ideas have been stripped of subversive implications. “Complexity,” he writes, “is not particularly viral.”
Rachel Rosenfelt, Editor in Chief of The New Inquiry, gets interviewed by Evan Kindley, Managing Editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. In their conversation, Rosenfelt reveals that TNI‘s prevailing editorial principle is: “Is this boring? Is this safe? If the answer is yes, then it’s not for us.”
Most institutions that become an essential part of a local culture build up a collection of curios over the years. They collect as much evidence as they can of their proximity to major events. At the New York Public Library, for example, you can find a letter opener whose handle is made from the paw of Charles Dickens’s dead cat. (h/t The Paris Review Daily)
“WHAT DO YOU DO? If you go to the elder debate and support gay marriage because all members of your village should have the right to a love that’s recognized by the State, close the book now. You will not impress the elders whose support you will so desperately need on your journey. Instead, your bravery will be met by an angry horde who throws you into Deadman’s Bog. If you oppose Zylorg’s marriage until a more politically opportune time — perhaps, after several gay bogmen sitcoms become popular — then congratulations, advance to page 38.” These excerpts from Hillary Clinton’s imagined, dystopian, choose-your-own-adventure YA novel are enlightening.
As e-books gain market share, publishers are gussying up book designs. Free Press vice president and publisher Martha K. Levin says, “the message [is] that even if you’re buying 90 percent of your books on your e-reader, this is the one that you want to have on your bookshelf.” The article highlights 1Q84 as an example of a successfully well-designed physical object, but if you haven’t seen a copy, check out Chip Kidd’s discussion of his work on the book.