Shannon Watts was in college when the massacre at Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, TX occurred. She was a young mother with small children at the time of Columbine. A slightly older mother when Virginia Tech happened. And the Gabby Giffords shooting. And Sandy Hook. And El Paso. For the L.A. Review of Books, a conversation on gun violence, “thoughts and prayers,” and Watts’s new book Fight Like a Mother, which chronicles the founding of grassroots action network Moms Demand Action. “An experience I’ve had over and over is waking up to the news of a horrific shooting tragedy in this country and then my day is done. … Similar to secondhand smoke, in this country, we have secondhand trauma from gun violence because it is so ever-present.”
New this week: How to Set a Fire and Why by Jesse Ball; I Am No One by Patrick Flanery; The Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon; The Trap by Melanie Raabe; Absalom’s Daughters by Suzanne Feldman; The Dream Life of Astronauts by Patrick Ryan; and Angels of Detroit by Christopher Hebert.
“You have turned to stone. A hairline crack runs along your entire length from crown to toe. Your feet have turned to liquid, and you are melting onto the kitchen floor.” Are you living in an Elena Ferrante novel? Li Sian Goh at The Toast has compiled a helpful list of ways to tell whether or not you might be a character in Ferrante’s final Neapolitan novel, The Story of the Lost Child.
The cartoonist Joe Sacco has a new graphic novel out that uses a twenty-four-foot panorama to depict the first day of the Battle of the Somme. At Salon, Sacco tells Daniel D’Addario that his upbringing in Australia, where the landings at Gallipoli have great patriotic significance, helped to spur his interest in the War to End All Wars. (Related: we interviewed Sacco last year.)