Happy Father’s Day Eve! Here is the best the web has to offer on books and related subjects for the week of June 13.
- At the Cut, Laura June reads Karl Ove Knausgaard as a mommy blogger:
Because he is so minutely observant, and because he has clearly spent so much time marveling over his own childhood, Knausgaard’s attention to detail results in a high level of insight when it comes to his own children. He may not relish every single moment with them, he may wish to be elsewhere doing other things, but when he is with them, he is tuned in, even if he can’t admit it.
- Have you read How to Cook a Wolf? It’s a pretty harrowing guide to cooking during wartime shortages (first, borrow enough money to fuel your stove for an hour), and like all of M.F.K. Fisher’s work, it’s worth reading. Over at the LARB, Simran Sethi compares it to the new book How to Cook a Moose and discusses the moralizing tendencies of contemporary food writing.
We carry our stories to the table and to every narrative we read and create. No matter what Fisher feasted on, she savored with humility, authenticity, and humor. The crux of her work was how to prepare and enjoy meals during wartime. Approachable and honest, she recognized both the paradox and necessity of savoring against the backdrop of scarcity.
- Robert Dawson photographed 700 public libraries across 48 states.
- Publishers Weekly has the skinny on James Patterson’s BookShots project (short version: It’s a success).
- Zadie Smith on her protégé Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah:
Her writing on black culture has a vertical depth; she writes about the history of African Americans in the US, but it's never dry or academic as there's so much love in it. She loves the people, the details, the landscape, the language. Her non-fiction reads like a rich fiction. It's uncommon to read a voice that mixes anger and joy so beautifully and with so much skill. She doesn't write rants, she writes eloquent, appreciative tirades.
- If you plan to attend the Brooklyn Book Fest this year, you’ll have a chance to meet Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, among others.
- It was Bloomsday on Thursday! Here at Vox we celebrated by feeling ambivalent about Ulysses. Meanwhile, LitHub discussed the travails of translating Ulysses into foreign languages, as well as the many ways James Joyce was both a genius and a jerk. My favorite excerpt:
But even as he made these important contacts, the young man courted rejection; a long letter to Ibsen on his 73rd birthday closes with the idea that the great playwright had "only opened the way" and that "higher and holier enlightenment lies—onward." It was implicit that Joyce himself would be the bearer of that enlightenment. Having arranged an interview with Yeats, he spent most of the conversation criticizing the older writer, remarking on leaving that "I have met you too late. You are too old." It was always Joyce’s way to have others understand that he was the more important.
- Emma Cline’s debut novel The Girls came out on Tuesday. At Vox, we talked about its portrayals of female friendship, and at the Paris Review Daily, Cline wrote about her fascination with the Manson girls.
He seemed like the unpopular boys in my own grade, wounded in a vague way, his wrists as tiny as a child’s. Still, I wrote down my mailing address, vibrating with pleasure. Some girls, even at thirteen, probably knew not to do things like that. I wasn’t one of them. When I was offered any attention, I took it, eagerly. I look at pictures of myself at that age and wonder how plainly it was encoded in my face, the flash of a message: see me.
Putting aside her class privilege, the real evils of Emma’s situation are that she has found a way to be happy outside of marriage, busying herself by caring (or at least trying to care) for those around her. The novel may think that Emma needs marriage to keep her out of trouble, but she doesn’t necessarily need one to be happy, and this is a truth that many black women know with a solid certainty. Like Emma, we are often scolded for being too headstrong or overbearing, and like us, she is the "other" in her community—a woman whose primary goal is not to "get" a man.