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The week in books: Neil Gaiman was "a feral child raised by libraries," and more

2014 National Book Awards
Neil Gaiman.
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Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

It is Saturday, and it is officially spring. You made it! To celebrate, here is the best the web has to offer for book-related news from the week of March 28, 2016.

His case seems to suggest that we’ve arrived at a new stage of this era. The important, inappropriate literary man is going to face his retribution. Or at least, certainly, the literary community is poised to bring him to some end.

The greatest superpower in this series isn’t magic or physical prowess, it’s practicality. The villains are greedy and lazy, in that "if you put all the energy you gave to cheating into doing this right, you’d be done by now" way. All of our heroes are competent and practical. Rejection of orthodoxy, in favor of what works best for them, defines every single one of the good guys.

Only the first Mrs. de Winter deserved to have tea.

Over the summer getting a blowout at Drybar, I turned to my right and saw one of my students in the chair next to me. Shit. I worried she'd think I was frivolous, or worse, rich. Appearance is a motherfucker. A broke writer, I'm happy to model for people, but a broke teacher?

But the interest of a couple of female readers, who approached women in the Haidary family about their interest in the books, has caused a small dilemma in a society that frowns upon even sharing the names of women in public: How can the library keep track of who took the books out if it cannot write the women’s names?

One proposal was to use pseudonyms for the women instead of writing their real names in the register, but that would create another problem: How would poor Mr. Haidary remember which pseudonym belongs to whom?

Fantasy, the place I was looking for, is not to be found in dragons, ghosts, or magic wands. It resides in language. Fantasy is death by owls. It’s mourning through gesture. It’s music, incantation in half-light. An inverted heart.

The word’s matter-of-factness is appalling. It’s impossible to say without sounding callous; it callouses language. It scabs over the incisions from which might bleed a living, inexpressible pain. Elaine Scarry rightly characterizes pain as the ultimate incommunicable experience, and so jutha requires a second act of translation after the transport from one dictionary to another: a transport out of a world of shelling, sniper fire, daily car bombs, bloodied sidewalks, and a decayed border between realistic and unrealistic brutality.

  • The New York Times wants to know what authors you had to grow into. I myself tried to read Sense and Sensibility much too young and spent years thinking of Jane Austen as that dull woman who was obsessed with how much money everyone earned.

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