Shirley Jackson’s works have been adapted and scrutinized for decades but have we always done her work justice? For Jezebel, Emily Alford examines the hazards of loneliness seen in Jackson’s books like The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and the ways their various film and TV adaptations have missed the mark. “The question of what Jackson’s work is ‘about’ is one that persists over half a century since much of it was published,” Alford writes, “yet the recent revival of interest hasn’t seemed to push us any closer to ‘getting it,’ at least not in any screen adaptation we’ve had so far.”
It’s not easy being a seagull. Over at the London Review of Books, Mary Wellesley takes a sympathetic look at how the much-maligned bird has been treated throughout the history of literature. Afterwards, let this essay from The Millions by Kristen Scharold on the joys of birdwatching lift your spirits a bit.
A Canadian Ph.D. student wrote (and successfully defended!) a 52,000 word dissertation that features almost no punctuation. Titled “Indigenous Architecture through Indigenous Knowledge,” the dissertation has no periods, commas or semi-colons, a choice intended to “make a point” about colonial and aboriginal identity. Canada’s National Post has the story.
Now that the Library of Congress is shut down, it’s as good a time as any to remember why we have it in the first place. At Brain Pickings, Maria Popova looks through a collection of vintage catalog cards, two of which include early entries for A Room of One’s Own and Ulysses.
Another big, literary title hits shelves today. Tom McCarthy turned heads with Remainder in 2007. Now he’s back with C. Posthumously published is Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago’s The Elephant’s Journey. Also newly released is Sara Gruen’s tale of bonobos and reality television: Ape House, William Gibson’s latest Zero History, and The Widower’s Tale by Julia Glass. Culture mavens will be intrigued by The Official Preppy Handbook reboot True Prep. And this week’s intriguing art book is Full Bleed: New York City Skateboard Photography. And in non-fiction, Bob Dylan In America by Sean Wilentz and Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, so compellingly written up in last week’s New Yorker.
Colm Tóibín’s new collection The Empty Family is out today, as is comedian Patton Oswalt’s Zombie Spaceship Wasteland. New in paperback: 2010 fave The Imperfectionists. Many more new books to look forward to, of course, in our massive preview published this week.