It’s the weekend of the Glorious Fourth! And whether you’re spending it inside by the AC or outside by the pool, one thing’s for sure: The national holiday will afford you some extra time to read. So here’s the best the internet has to offer on books and related topics for the week of June 27, 2016.
- In this, the last week of the Toast, here are the site’s last bookish posts: Carrie Frye gives us a thorough and fascinating history of Miss Havisham, and Carvell Wallace writes beautifully on the Negro Motorist Green Book.
- Once you’re done with those, soothe your broken heart by reading the exquisite short story Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote for the New York Times Book Review on Melania Trump.
Melania decided she would order the flowers herself. Donald was too busy now anyway to call Alessandra’s as usual and ask for “something amazing.” Once, in the early years, before she fully understood him, she had asked what his favorite flowers were.
“I use the best florists in the city, they’re terrific,” he replied, and she realized that taste, for him, was something to be determined by somebody else, and then flaunted.
- The New York Times asked a group of novelists and poets to write about the national parks. I myself am partial to Patricia Lockwood, poet of Weird Twitter, on the Grand Canyon: “Of course the Grand Canyon was a vagina.”
- At LitHub, Emily Barton mounts a defense of plot:
Books depend upon plot. It is the armature upon which everything hangs. Self-styled intelligent readers read for plot every bit as much as those who plow through mass-market paperback thrillers and romances do. (Also, in many cases, those readers are the same person.)
- At n+1, Cora Frazier gives us the elevator pitch for Karl Ove Knausaard’s My Struggle:
FADE IN: Limericks in italic font about the author’s mortality. Huh. Well, they aren’t dirty per se, beyond the general obscenity of death itself. If you would just — the elevator will stop at this floor again, on the way down, if you would like to hear a stanz — bye.
- At the New Republic, Suki Kim discusses how her book of intensive investigative reporting was repackaged as a memoir:
By casting my book as personal rather than professional — by marketing me as a woman on a journey of self-discovery, rather than a reporter on a groundbreaking assignment — I was effectively being stripped of my expertise on the subject I knew best. It was a subtle shift, but one familiar to professional women from all walks of life. I was being moved from a position of authority — What do you know? — to the realm of emotion: How did you feel?
- And back at the New York Times, Dani Shapiro writes on how memoir writing comes with its own problems:
People who have read my work feel as if they know me. And while certainly there is a powerful intimacy inherent in the experience of reading memoir, readers who meet me seem a bit embarrassed by this intimacy, as if, rather than having read my books, they have seen me naked without my consent. They seem to think of memoirs as more personal than any other literary form, as if the word “memoir” necessarily signals confession, testimony, diary and strip tease all in one.