At the Paris Review, Valerie Stivers takes on a literary baking challenge: crafting pies inspired by the works of Italo Calvino, using ingredients culled from his books and family history. “I must have been high on his genius, creativity, and playfulness when I attempted to climb into the trees myself,” she writes, “and invent a series of Calvino-inspired pies, interlocking like the chapters of If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler and utilizing tree fruits and tree nuts from The Baron in the Trees. My plan also drew on a biographical note of Calvino’s: his parents were botanists, and his father pioneered the cultivation of exotic tree fruits in Italy, which made me feel that any tree fruit or nut was fair game. These high-concept pies would use new-to-me techniques such as chiffon, Italian meringue, chilled custard filling, blind-baked crusts, and pudding layers.”
Liked watching Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk last year? Then consider picking up a copy of We Should All Be Feminists. The longform essay, now published as an ebook original, was adapted from topics Adichie touched upon in her speech, among them the importance of being a feminist in the twenty-first century. You could also look back on Adichie’s Year in Reading piece.
In the latest issue of The New York Review of Books, Jean Strouse brings us inside John Singer Sargent’s inner circle. The exhibition, “Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends,” is on view at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art until October 4th. You could also read Edra Ziesk’s piece on what makes a friend.
“I couldn’t put the books down. Now that so many of us complain of diminished attention spans— our own as well as our companions’—it’s worth asking what has made millions of readers willing to suspend their disbelief—to suspend their selves—for thousands of pages.” Why have so many people gone gaga for Ferrante and Knausgaard? We have our own theories as well.