Books
4

Writers Writing About Writers (and Musicians, and Artists, and and)

I was in New York a few weeks ago and I did something truly outrageous—I walked into my favorite bookstore, turned to Anna, and was like, "I'm only allowed to buy one book, ok?", and then actually bought only one book. I hope you can appreciate the magnitude of this event because it has, quite literally, never happened before and will probably never happen again.

2

Hail Satan, Tonight: John Darnielle's Wolf in White Van

When you punish a person for dreaming his dream
 Don't expect him to thank or forgive you
 The best ever death metal band out of Denton
 Will in time both outpace and outlive you
 Hail Satan!
 Hail Satan tonight!
 Hail Satan! Hail hail! -The Mountain Goats, Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton

Wolf in White Van is the first novel from the man who might've been the Poet Laureate of the United States of America, despite having only really written songs about lonely people and monsters. As the sole founder of the beloved indie folk band The Mountain Goats, John Darnielle is no stranger to touching people [...]

9

Hillary Clinton, Do Not Feel Guilty About Your Pleasures

Hillary Clinton talked to the Times about her favorite books: some of the many names mentioned include Laura Hillenbrand, Toni Morrison, John Grisham, Pablo Neruda, George W. Bush and the Bible, which she says "was and remains the biggest influence on my thinking." In the interest of resisting the game of How Much Is This Q&A a Fake-Casual 'Hey' Text For America's Smart Conservative Moms, let me just draw your attention to this one part:

What are your literary guilty pleasures? Do you have a favorite genre?

Cooking, decorating, diet/self-help and gardening books are guilty pleasures and useful time fillers.

[...]

7

Baby-Sitters Club for the Modern Woman

In middle school, the babysitters in The Babysitter's Club lived out every possible problem and dilemma a privileged tween in the '90s could face. But no one can stay 13 forever—eventually, a girl has to start growing up and facing the problems and dilemmas of privileged twenty-somethings.

If only the babysitters could come with us…

 

4

Book Titles, Answered

A: My natural habitat being systematically destroyed in the name of advancing civilization.

A: Technically, they count electric sheep while they're still awake, trying to drift off to sleep. Then they generally dream of naked lady androids, or of writing midterms at the local electric school they're unprepared for, while wearing electric underwear with a Batman motif.

11

"Did Something Happen?": On Elena Ferrante's 'Abandonment' and Jenny Offill's 'Speculation'

I went on a trip back home to Texas last weekend with Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment and Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation in my backpack. I had no idea what either novel was about when I bought them; it surprised me to find that both were narrated by women whose husbands are having affairs.

We live in a world that is alarmingly full of options, which is why people have affairs and why I like plane rides in the company of books good enough to keep you off the expensive wifi: I read Offill’s book in one sitting and Ferrante’s in two. The authors’ [...]

17

Fifty Shades of Brontë

She describes him as “full of an interest, an influence that quite mastered me,—that took my feelings from my own power and fettered them in his.”

He tells her, “[Y]ou please me, and you master me—you seem to submit, and I like the sense of pliancy you impart; and while I am twining the soft, silken skein round my finger, it sends a thrill up my arm to my heart. I am influenced—conquered; and the influence is sweeter than I can express; and the conquest I undergo has a witchery beyond any triumph I can win.”

So speak the characters of an 1847 novel about a teenage girl’s liaison of [...]

7

"Has Your Husband Read It?"

Over the weekend I read Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce, mostly because several of my friends had e-mailed me this review by Pooja Bhatia with the following line highlighted:

People compare Tierce to Joan Didion, maybe the doyenne of literary realism, and Mary Gaitskill, whose intense short stories have explored sex and debasement.

I mean, sold.

8

A Six-Month Reading List

Courtesy The Millions, here is every new book you will want to read in the next six months. I just finished The Flamethrowers, so I'll catch up with you all 'round 2016. [The Millions]

19

Tales of Post-Graduate Love, Turmoil, and Friendship: A Conversation with Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults is an epistolary memoir by Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale that’s out today. You may already know Jessica from The Hairpin; she writes the Baking from a Bygone Era column and often enlists Rachel when she embarks “on disgusting culinary adventures from the past," she says. The two friends and co-authors met at Brown. Before they graduated and Rachel headed to New York and Jessica to Beijing, they promised to stay in touch with honest, tell-it-like-it-is, regular emails to each other. Those emails, which they returned to years later after reuniting in London, became the basis for [...]