At the Atlantic, Amitava Kumar makes a case for more images to appear in literature for adults, as tools to prompt questions and multiple interpretations. “Drawings and photographs run the risk of making everything literal,” Kumar writes. “In books for children, they mostly are mere illustrations, directly representing the ideas on the page. Virginia Woolf once wrote about paintings: ‘A story-telling picture is as pathetic and ludicrous as a trick played by a dog.’ But it is possible to imagine a more complex dialogue between art and narrative. Writers can use images to question the truth instead of simply underlining it.”
We give up a book for many reasons: it was too long, the writing was dull, it was written by E.L. James. Goodreads has charted just when and why we abandon books. Catch-22 is the number one abandoned book. (Confession: I didn’t finish it either.) Also, see our article on the pressures of finishing novels in the age of literary social media.
George R. R. Martin’s publisher shared an excerpt from the author’s story, “The Princess and The Queen, or, The Blacks and The Greens.” The piece serves as a “Westerosi history lesson on the Targaryen Civil War,” and covers “the Causes, Origins, Battles, and Betrayals of that Most Tragic Bloodletting Known as the Dance of the Dragons.” It will be bundled along with 20 other stories in the forthcoming Dangerous Women collection. The question remains, however: what kind of recipes does it feature?
In 1817, the painter Robert Benjamin Haydon invited several guests over for what he called an “immortal dinner.” Why the bombastic name? The guests included Keats and Wordsworth, whom Haydon wished to introduce to each other. In the WaPo, Michael Dirda takes a look at The Immortal Evening, a new book about the event by Stanley Plumly.