For the Paris Review, Valerie Stivers crafts recipes inspired by literature, and for fall, she turned to Shirley Jackson. Stivers takes on the poisoned meal from We Have Always Lived in the Castle —minus the arsenic-sprinkled blueberries, of course. “Can all witches cook?” Stivers asks. “If the writer Shirley Jackson (1916–1965), a self-styled witch as well as one of the greats of twentieth-century literature, is anything to go by, the answer is yes, and the rule becomes interesting: domestic goddesshood is not quite what we expect from a horror writer, as Jackson was often (mis)labeled.”
“We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.” BookRiot did us all a service by finding out the 10 most highlighted passages of (the e-book edition of) Margaret Atwood‘s The Handmaid’s Tale. You must also read our own Edan Lepucki on reading and re-reading Atwood.
The Millions Editor Max is interviewed at the National Book Critics Circle today. Among the topics discussed, “the motivation for launching The Millions seven years ago” and what we look for in book reviews.
“‘I just want to be normal,’ she said, even though she had amazing powers and a super-family and was mega-gorgeous and better than normal in every way and the entire book would be terrible if she were normal and she had no conception of what normal was to begin with.” At The Toast, Mallory Ortberg lists flaws only a protagonist could have.
Catching you up to speed with two recent literary controversies: 1) Poets & Writers‘ MFA rankings kerfuffle gets a climactic and eloquent summary from The Missouri Review‘s Michael Nye. 2) In response to her Salon article, “How the National Book Awards made themselves irrelevant,” Victor LaValle has some fightin’ words for Laura Miller.
Last April, our own Bill Morris bemoaned the current state of America’s higher education system. At the same time, Malcolm Harris derided the unreasonable cost of that same system. Now Benjamin Ginsberg, author of The Fall of the Faculty, places blame for both criticisms on the shoulders of universities’ expanding administrative staff.