At the New Statesman, Yaa Gyasi discusses the theme of risk in her latest novel, Transcendent Kingdom, and how it is necessary in both pleasure and pain, primarily seen through Gifty, the novel’s protagonist, and her study of addiction as a result of her brother’s death. “We humans are reckless with our bodies,” Gyasi says, “reckless with our lives, for no other reason than that we want to know what would happen, what it might feel like to brush up against death, to run right up to the edge of our lives.”
In the Fall 2015 issue of n+1, Adam Ehrlich Sachs explores the idea of inherited disorders through nine short pieces. An excerpt: “He wanted the reader to think to himself: ‘I just read about the Holocaust. Why am I picturing this fern? What is the matter with me?’ Such was the literary effect he was aiming for.”
Have you heard the one about the Holocaust historian who loves Donald Trump? No, really. Eric Metaxas, most well-known for his biography of the theologian/anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer, has claimed that Trump’s rhetoric is all just “schtick,” and that the man himself is “culturally Jewish.”
Peter Osnos on how far the publishing industry has come since the galas and publishing events of the 1990s: “That the action in publishing now is in the creation of books rather than selling the rights to them is a meaningful indicator of the excitement in the industry about the digital potential.”
Writers of facial stage direction, beware: it is not actually the epitome of irony that smiling and crying can seem so oddly similar. At Aeon, Princeton professor Michael Graziono argues that the seemingly opposite gestures may just share evolutionary origins. (Pair with: Darwinist theories about “the evolution of the novel.”)
It’s not often that you hear about an athlete who hosts his own book podcast, but Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck does just that, reports Yahoo News. (Also namechecked for their bibliophilic tendendies in the piece: Pats receiver Malcolm Mitchell and retired baller Donte’ Stallworth.)
In addition to the show, where Luck interviews his favorite authors, the QB also has a book club; this month’s reads are A Wrinkle in Time for rookies, i.e., kiddos, and The Soul of an Octopus for veterans, his adult participants.
The Science Genius Initiative is a pilot project organized by Rap Genius, science teachers from ten New York City public schools, and GZA. Together, the group hopes “to change the way city teachers relate to minority students, drawing not just on hip-hop’s rhymes, but also on its social practices and values.” Indeed, as the Wu-Tang Clan emcee – who’s been working with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and MIT physicists for his new album – believes science is worth studying because it “unlocks the key to the universe, and the mysteries we don’t know.”