In 1907, it was quite a surprise to see a woman at the top of the bestseller list. Now, women routinely write top-selling books, with Delia Owens‘s Where the Crawdad Sings and Tara Westover’s Educated currently ruling the fiction and nonfiction lists. Over at the New York Times, Tina Jordan unearths an old article marveling over the new phenomenon of the “lit’ry lady,” which at the time, seemed to be led by the record-breaking sales of Edith Wharton’s The Fruit of the Tree. “The really striking thing,” the article goes on to say, “about the encroachments of women on the preserves of man in book writing is not to be found on the purely literary side, but on the business side of the situation. Women are writing more and more best-sellers.”
Over at Brooklyn Magazine, Molly McArdle writes on J.K. Rowling’s ever-expanding universe. As she puts it, “New canonical information flows from: Pottermore, the fictional universe’s official website; Rowling’s Twitter account; interviews; a forthcoming movie trilogy; and now two plays, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, produced in tandem in London with scripts available for sale in a single volume worldwide. This is Harry Potter’s long, strange afterlife. Or maybe it’s more like an undeath.” Pair with Janet Manley’s Millions essay on The Cursed Child and British humiliation.
“[S]he and her sister should not be affected by the riot. Riots like this were what she read about in newspapers. Riots like this were what happened to other people.” The Guardian runs ‘A Private Experience,’ a short story from Year-in-Reading alum Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
“Can art, so often used by developers to mask the violence of displacement, instead be used to resist gentrification?” The New Inquiry reviews Streetopia, a collection of essays edited by Eric Lyle. Pair with our own Michael Bourne’s essay on gentrification in New York City.
Recent Year in Reading alum Rebecca Makkai writes about the difference between publishing your first book and your second book for Ploughshares. Let’s just say it’s the difference between champagne and “all the whiskey.” Pair with Zhanna Slor‘s Millions interview with Makkai in which they discuss that second book, The Hundred-Year House.