Lit List: January 16, 2017

Good evening readers. Here's your round-up of today's must-read literary news, commentary and fiction.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Source: Nobel Foundation

Martin Luther King, Jr. Source: Nobel Foundation

  • Banned book quiz: can you guess which books weren't allowed into Guantánamo? Reprieve
  • On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, read the civil rights leader's powerful and instructive "Letter from Birmingham Jail" University of Pennsylvania
  • Antonio Di Benedetto's "brief, indelible" novel Zama is about an ethically wayward, existentially adrift lackey of the Spanish colonial empire The New Yorker
  • Bookworm-in-chief: "Not since Lincoln has there been a president as fundamentally shaped... by reading and writing as Barack Obama." The New York Times
  • On E. L. Konigsburg's The View from Saturday and finding the power of anger Hazlitt
  • In "Boomerang," by Lanre Akinsiku, a father and son toss around a boomerang that doesn't always return The Kenyon Review
  • The 2017 International Prize for Arabic Fiction announces its long list; nominees include Elias Khoury and Sinan Antoon Arab Lit
  • In a lost speech, Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes Victor Hugo: "There is nothing more powerful...than an idea whose time has come." Ebony

Lit List: January 13, 2017

Good evening readers. Here's your round-up of today's must-read literary news, commentary and fiction.

Ottessa Moshfegh. Source: Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 4.0

Ottessa Moshfegh. Source: Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 4.0

  • Ottessa Moshfegh's writing dwells on inner and outer ugliness Bookforum 
  • How Elena Ferrante's Frantumaglia unites "two cultures in women’s writing that are not supposed to mix" Dissent 
  • Let yourself be consumed by this fascinating history of human and animal cannibalism Slate
  • The novel of the Obama era: chasing authenticity, haunted by "the specter of phoniness" and the myth of meritocracy New York Magazine 
  • Matías Celedón's The Subsidiary is the tale of an ordinary office where a power outage goes terribly wrong, written entirely in office stamps 3% 
  • How a poet on a desolate island fell in love with a statue Guernica
  • In Teddy Wayne's Loner, a male Harvard student transforms "from part-time creep to full-blown psychopath" The Los Angeles Review of Books 

Lit List: January 11, 2017

Good evening readers. Here's your round-up of today's must-read literary news, commentary and fiction.

Frantz Fanon. Source:  Pacha J. Willka

Frantz Fanon. Source: Pacha J. Willka

  • Obama's farewell speech called on "we the people" to remember that yes, we still can LSP
  • Mother tongues and "mother-in-law language": Talking to in-laws can be complicated, but in some languages a whole host of ordinary words becomes taboo in their presence The New York Times
  • Scratch, an anthology about writers and money that doesn't always do much more than scratch the surface Slate 
  • Roxane Gay interviews an iconic "difficult woman": Madonna Harper's Bazaar
  • Intellectual magazines and the CIA's Cold War puppeteering of American culture The Los Angeles Review of Books
  • Frantz Fanon is remembered as an advocate for resistance by any means necessary, but rarely as a scholar, a psychiatrist, a doctor, a humanist The London Review of Books
  • Riddle by Jericho Brown: "We do not know the history of our selves on this planet because we do not have to know what we believe we own." The Georgia Review 
  • Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib, author of The Crown Ain't Worth Much, on poetry as witnessing, on reckoning with grief and investing in joy Hazlitt
  • Fiction by Mary Helene Bertino: "Is there a patron saint for everything?... Turnips? Socks you can’t find? And outlet malls?" Electric Literature

Lit List: January 9, 2017

Good evening readers. Here's your round-up of today's must-read literary news, commentary and fiction.

  • "It’s very hard to review one’s past without cheating a little": an interview with Simone de Beauvoir, who was born of Janaury 9th, 1908 The Paris Review
  • The Rastafari are more than Jamaica's tourist-friendly mascots: the anti-colonial, radical roots of the long-persecuted Rastafari movement The New York Review of Books
  • For modern couple Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, love was essential; monogamy was contingent The New Yorker
  • In The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir deals brilliantly with ambiguity Slate
  • How to write about Africa: "always use the word ‘Africa’ or ‘Darkness’ or ‘Safari’ in your title." Granta
  • On the eve of Obama's farewell speech, remembering George Washington's last address to the nation NPR
Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre (detail). Source: Wikimedia Commons

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre (detail). Source: Wikimedia Commons

Lit List: January 6, 2017

Good evening readers. Here's your round-up of today's must-read literary news, commentary and fiction.

 

  • What to read in 2017: A workout plan for your brain. LSP 
  • The true story of the Florida librarians who used electronic trickery to try to keep neglected books on the shelves Electric Literature 
  • Rumi is a beloved poet and mystic, but few of his American readers know him as a scholar and poet of Islam. New Yorker 
  • "Nectar," by Rumena Bužarovska: a woman deflates her gynecologist husband's artistic prentension. Words Without Borders 
  • Geoff Dyer on John Berger, his life, and his influences, from Barthes and Sontag to Benjamin and Spinoza Bookforum 
  • Novelist Randa Jarrar: "My writing is drag, comedy, cinema, a weed flower, glittery bras...a sheesha packed with apple-flavored tobacco." The Los Angeles Review of Books 
  • The silencing of Charlotte Brontë's anger Public Books 
  • In 2017, we need art that looks to the future, not more retrospectives on the hidden gems of the past, says Jerry Saltz Vulture

 

 

Artistic rendering of Rumi by Molavi

Artistic rendering of Rumi by Molavi

Lit List: January 4, 2017

Good evening readers. Here's your round-up of today's must-read literary news, commentary and fiction.

  • Barack Obama's thousands of speeches paint a picture of America that America has not lived up to N+1 
  • Sci-fi in China goes as far back as Jules Verne, and now those works are coming to American readers. Asia Times 
  • In Mexican modernist art, a "fine and decadent abuse" of European aesthetics and a mockery of death Hyperallergic 
  • When adaptations get too clever for their own good: "What I want from a Sherlock Holmes adaptation is Holmes and Watson solving crimes together." Lithub
  • Roxane Gay talks with NPR's Audie Cornish about Difficult Women and difficult men NPR 
  • From acid to Adderall, how each generation gets the drugs it deserves Aeon 
  • An old woman extends a strange welcome in a poem by Jacob Shores-Argüello Poetry Foundation 
  • Samantha Schweblin's novel "Fever Dream" instills a sense of mysterious horror The New Yorker 
  • How Puccini has been appropriated by Donald Trump, as if to make what is old new again MTV

 

Barack Obama. Credit: Pete Souza

Barack Obama. Credit: Pete Souza

Lit List: January 2, 2017

Good evening readers, and happy new year. Here's your round-up of today's must-read literary news, commentary and fiction.

  • How Ayelet Waldman changed her life for the better by micro-dosing LSD Bookforum
  • John Berger (1926-2017), a beloved critic credited with popularizing art history and theory, snuck Marxism into his analyses The Los Angeles Review of Books
  • Yiyun Li describes the years-long genesis of her short story "On the Street Where You Live" The New Yorker
  • Annette Gordon on the rhetoric of white racial solidarity at the heart of the American Revolution The New York Review of Books
  • When George Plimpton and Ernest Hemingway watched an execution in Cuba, and why the CIA helped fund the Paris Review Guernica 
  • Books to get you through 2017: a selection of "good books for bad times." Mask Magazine
     
John Berger. Credit: Ji-Elle

John Berger. Credit: Ji-Elle

Lit List: Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Good evening readers. Here's your round-up of today's must-read literary news, commentary and fiction.

  • Marlene Dietrich, avid reader and annotator The New Yorker

  • Jason Stanley's 2015 How Propaganda Works is a timely warning about "mangled facts; false claims; and reductive, Manichaean storytelling." The New York Times

  • Rebecca Solnit looks onward to January 20th and back to America's unfinished civil wars Harper's

  • Pondering "the fragility of civil liberties" at the sites of Japanese-American internment camps Buzzfeed

  • Sneakers have always been political shoes The Atlantic

  • Sarah Nicole Prickett on growing up evangelical in London, Ontario, and losing her faith in Midland, Michigan The Towner

  • Richard Adams, interviewed: the author of the children's classic Watership Down passed away on December 27th, 2016 The Guardian

  • Novelist Ahmed Naji on being part of the "contradictory, vagabond, incongruous mosaic...of the greater Middle East" Arab Lit

  • "Last time we met we named all our favorite authors": poetry by Hsia Yu Asymptote

Rebecca Solnit. Credit:  Charles Kremenak

Rebecca Solnit. Credit: Charles Kremenak

Lit List: Friday, December 23, 2016

Ocean Vuong. credit: Wikimedia Commons

Ocean Vuong. credit: Wikimedia Commons

Good evening readers. Here's your round-up of today's must-read literary news, commentary and fiction.

 

  • A few little-known Hanukkah stories The New Yorker
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates on the importance of Kwanzaa The Atlantic
  • Christmas is not the only thing that's commodified Lithub
  • Ocean Vuong and Alexander Chee discuss how to balance dreams of literary fame and buying their moms houses Bon Magazine
  • Branko Milanovic, the author of "Global Inequality," explains the chaos of 2016 The New Republic
  • Eileen Myles' poem "Merry Christmas, Dr. Title," about a place she doesn't go anymore BOMB Magazine
  • Lewis Lapham re-politicizes A Christmas Carol Lapham's Quarterly

Lit List: Wednesday December 21, 2016

Good evening readers. Here's your round-up of today's must-read literary news, commentary and fiction.

  • On Margot Lee Shetterly's "Hidden Figures" and why science never exists in a vacuum NPR
  • The Return of Münchausen: a wanderer stumbles upon a reclusive artist. The Paris Review
  • "This is what happens to the bodies of the women you know": the reality of the 1 in 5 pregnancies that end in miscarriage Medium
  • Why Barack Obama reads: the outgoing president believes reading is crucial to developing an empathetic, complex worldview. The San Francisco Chronicle
  • "America should be afraid of itself": The enduring relevance of Scream MTV
  • For speaking truth to power, the Nepali magazine Himal Southasian has printed its last issue...for now. The New Yorker
  • In Greece, readers are looking across the Mediterranean with a renewed interest in Arabic literature Arab Lit
  • Facebook sees you when you're sleeping, it knows when you're awake The New York Review of Books

 

Margot Lee Shetterly. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Margot Lee Shetterly. Credit: Wikimedia Commons