Rebecca Solnit gives the classic and rather dated tale of Cinderella an empowered, nuanced update. Brainpickings takes a look at Cinderella Liberator, Solnit’s version of the fairy tale that examines cultural myths about measures of prosperity. This illustrated retelling is “at once an empowering gift to any young person beginning to behold the landscape of possibility we call life and powerful existential reboot for any grownup ready to break free of the world’s limiting stories.”
“I’ve learned that people—writers and non-writers alike—don’t like that word. Failure…. I take a bizarre pleasure, now, in using that word. Maybe because during my decade as a failed writer, the one thing that took the edge off was wallowing in that failure—carefully, in a proscribed fashion, like having a drink when you’re still hungover.” Stephanie Feldman writes for Vol. 1 Brooklyn about being a literary failure, about the two books she wrote and never published, and about the one she finally did. Pair with the stories of these 5 writers and their failed “novels in drawers.”
Sir Frank Kermode, widely acclaimed as Britain’s foremost literary critic, died yesterday in Cambridge at the age of 90. Guardian recalls highlights of his eminent career, including inspiring the founding of The London Review of Books, publishing books ranging from works on Spenser and Donne to last year’s Concerning EM Forster, and being an acclaimed reviewer: Philip Roth admitted that although he dislikes reading reviews, “if Frank Kermode reviewed my book I would read it.”
Echoing Kevin Hartnett’s new year’s resolution here at The Millions, Colson Whitehead tells writers to quit bitching about getting distracted by the internet.
As a cultural center with a very different makeup than the various home bases of the publishing world, Los Angeles often gets short shrift in discussions of literary cities. At the LARB (naturally), Sarah-Jane Stratford writes about the city’s importance to speculative literature, with an emphasis on the works of Ray Bradbury. Related: Tanjil Rashid on Bradbury’s Middle East connection.