At NPR, Jane Wong discusses her new poetry collection, How to Not Be Afraid of Everything, which depicts her own experience of Chinese immigrant life in the U.S., while also giving voice to generations before her. “In writing this book, I did not conduct quote-unquote interviews,” Wong says. “I didn’t do quote-unquote research with my family directly, because it would be too painful. Instead, I just listened really deeply. Like, what are they not saying? And what does that mean? This book feels very much like it’s trying to make sure everyone sees that I have fists and they are curling and uncurling at all times.”
Why is Hamlet so maddeningly indecisive? It’s a question as well-trod as any in literature, yet few people question that dithering is what defines the Prince of Denmark. In The Irish Times, Brian Dillon looks at another way of thinking about the character, one laid out in a recent book, that centers on the idea that Hamlet is crippled by “the burden of knowledge itself.”
Tin House magazine’s new Theft issue includes gems like this poem from Matthew Zapruder and this story by Kirsten Bakis among many others. John Brandon’s essay from The Millions on the literary consequence of petty theft is a perfect follow-up read for all of you kleptomaniacs out there.
“It’s not often that I find myself brandishing my copy and yelling, ‘This book.This book! at my husband, but I had that pleasant, awed, envy-inducing reaction.” We obviously love a good end-of-year reading roundup, and BOMB Magazine has “Looking Back on 2016” with entries from Jonathan Lethem, Will Chancellor, and other artists, writers, musicians, and filmmakers.
At The NYT Mag, Virginia Heffernan‘s “Drill, Baby, Drill” explores the possibility that drills and memorization might not be quite as oppressive as some of the kinder, gentler pedagogues of our time suggest and offers a list of aps to help aspiring rote learners (Nota Bene: VerseByHeart).
Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues, shortlisted for the Booker Prize, is now out in the U.S. Also new this week are John D’Agata’s much-discussed Lifespan of a Fact, Sarah Manguso’s The Guardians, Ellen Ullman’s By Blood and The Boiling Season by Christopher Hebert, who has an essay up on our site today. The new memoir by Anthony Shadid has seen its release date pushed up to this week. See our remembrance of Shadid. Finally, it’s Christmas for baseball fans: the 2012 Baseball Prospectus is out.