At Crime Reads, Grace D. Li discusses her debut novel, Portrait of a Thief, which follows a group of Chinese Americans as they pull off a heist to reclaim priceless Chinese art. “It can be all too easy to view art as a neutral act, or museums as institutions that solely preserve history instead of shape it,” she says. “In Portrait of a Thief, I wanted to challenge the presence of looted art in museums. Why is it acceptable to keep stolen art, especially when its country of origin has already asked for it back? Why do Western institutions assume they can better preserve, display, or educate about pieces that doesn’t belong to them? The art world is awaiting long overdue change, and I hope my book can help push that forward.”
Out this week: Thomas Murphy by Roger Rosenblatt; The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome by Serge Brussolo; Weathering by Lucy Wood; Remains by Jesús Castillo; and What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell (which we reviewed). For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
A while back, I wrote about Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher, which may be the first novel in history written entirely in the form of recommendation letters. Now, at The Rumpus, Anjali Enteti sits down with Schumacher, who talks about writing by hand, the adjunct crisis, and why it’s okay that so many people are getting MFAs. You could also read our own Nick Ripatrazone on why MFA grads should teach high school.
Cage the Elephant is considered one of the best young indie rock acts today, but the band got its start in the burgeoning music scene in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Sometime Millions contributor Craig Fehrman wrote a Kindle Single on Cage the Elephant and its influential hometown, Home Grown: Cage the Elephant and the Making of a Modern Music Scene. You can read his past Millions essays on the history of literary Time covers, Lewis Hyde’s understanding of intellectual property, and an ethnography of readers at Borders.