At Time, Ocean Vuong discusses his new poetry collection, Time Is a Mother, which he wrote while mourning his mother, bearing witness to love, loss, and trauma. “I was grieving, the world was grieving, and the only thing I really had was to go back to poems […] All the things I’d written, it was all to try to take care of her,” he says. “I went to school for her, I worked for her—she was the source. When that was taken away, I didn’t have anything else to answer to. And so I finally wrote for myself.”
Infinite Jest may have “really taken on a foothold as the ‘novel of ideas’ of the late 20th and early 21st centuries” but now it’s also a “novel of legos,” courtesy of Kevin Griffith and his 11 year old son, Sebastian.
Shakespeare was an insult master, as were Churchill, Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde and… Cézanne? Apparently so. In The Irish Times, Colm Tóibín reads through the painter’s letters, one of which includes a gripe that “Pissarro is an old fool [and] Monet is a wily bird.” (You could also read Claire Cameron’s Millions review of Tóibín’s latest novel.)
Out this week: The Dark Dark by Samantha Hunt; The Epiphany Machine by David Burr Gerrard; Like A Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz Molina; Beautiful Animals by Lawrence Osborne; The Dog’s Last Walk by Howard Jacobson; and Less by Andrew Sean Greer. For more on these and other new titles, go read our just-published book preview.
You’re probably up to your neck in World Cup coverage, but here are some gems well worth your attention no matter what: Teju Cole created a “Copa do Mundo do Brasil” playlist to set the mood; Pablo Torre’s one-sentence-long summation of Day One in São Paulo; an excerpt from Aleksandar Hemon’s The Matters of Life, Death, and More: Writing on Soccer; The New Republic’s round-up of “eleven writers and intellectuals on the World Cup’s most compelling characters“; and, of course, Shaj Mathew’s recent Millions review of Brazil’s Dance with the Devil.
“After breaking down the data by neighborhood and age group, it became clear: Children’s books are a rarity in high-poverty urban communities. The likelihood that a parent could find a book for purchase in these areas ‘is very slim.’” On book deserts across America.