At Vogue, Sally Rooney discusses her hotly anticipated new novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You, and the books that provided a basis for her observational, haunting prose. “When I look at my own reading life, the books that I’ve felt completely swept away by are set among the landed gentry in 19th-century Britain, which I really don’t identify with at all,” Rooney says. “But I care about [those people] very much if they’re in a Jane Austen novel or a George Eliot. I guess what a novel can do is take you to a particular social world and particular relationship dynamics that play out in a way that makes you feel like you’re standing in the doorway, looking in and observing exactly what’s happening.”
“We connect with books in an intellectual way, but the most valuable relationships we have with them are emotional; to say that you merely admire or respect a book is, on some level, to insult it. Feelings are so fundamental to literary life that it can be hard to imagine a way of relating to literature that doesn’t involve loving it. Without all those emotions, what would reading be?” Joshua Rothman on “The History of ‘Loving’ to Read.”
Point: “Repeated surveys show that children spend less time reading than did previous generations. They instead devote many hours of their waking lives to electronic screens of one kind or another.” Counterpoint: “Generation Y, those born between 1979 and 1989, spent the most money on books in 2011, taking over long-held book-buying leadership from baby boomers…with 43 percent of GenY’s purchases going to online channels, they are adding momentum to the industry shift to digital.” Conclusion?
The International Writing Program at the University of Iowa is offering two seven-week online seminars free of charge this summer: Advanced Poetry and Poetry Masterclass. The seminars are intended for emerging and published poets, respectively, and they will be taught by Micah Bateman and Nick Twemlow. Anybody with an internet connection is allowed to apply, and applications are due May 8th.
With college football season officially upon us, I’d like to take some time to recommend some books and articles on the subject of my favorite game. For starters, check out Nick Ripatrazone’s Millions piece about Don DeLillo, sports scandals, and growing up with the game. Next, Taylor Branch’s quintessential ebook on the NCAA’s cartel-like stranglehold on the sport deserves a read from anybody who’s ever participated in or watched college athletics of any kind. (You can get a good idea of the book from his Atlantic piece, too.) And lastly, I recommend checking out John U. Bacon’s latest book, Fourth and Long, which examines how “money, influence and power haunt the league.” (You may recall Bacon’s name from when I reviewed his earlier book on college football last year.)