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How to throw a Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reading party

We have officially made it through the Republican and Democratic conventions, and we have two whole months before the first presidential debate. It’s time to take a break from politics and start thinking about books instead! Herewith are the best links the internet has to offer on books and related subjects for the week of July 25, 2016.

  • The script book for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child comes out this weekend! We’ll have some thoughts here on Vox very shortly, but in the meantime, Book Riot has instructions for how to host a Cursed Child party.
  • Also at Book Riot, Michelle Anne Schingler discusses what it means to her to have a bookish presidential nominee in Hillary Clinton.
  • Okayafrica is celebrating eight brilliant black women writers from South Africa.
  • The Vatican Apostolic Library has digitized a 1,600-year-old manuscript fragment of Virgil’s Aeneid. You can check out the manuscript here, and the Guardian has more details.
  • We here at Vox.com are all extremely excited about Ava DuVernay’s forthcoming movie adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time (you can check out all our Wrinkle in Time feels here). So imagine our joy at hearing that Oprah is in talks to play Mrs. Which. You get a tesseract! And you get a tesseract! Everybody gets a tesseract!
  • Have you ever read Virginia Woolf’s love letters to Vita Sackville-West? They’re absurdly charming; the most famous one starts, “Look here Vita — throw over your man, and we’ll go to Hampton Court and dine on the river together.” Anyway, at Brain Pickings, Maria Popova has the story of their love affair, complete with Vita’s thoughts on first meeting Virginia:

At first you think she is plain, then a sort of spiritual beauty imposes itself on you, and you find a fascination in watching her. She was smarter last night, that is to say, the woollen orange stockings were replaced by yellow silk ones, but she still wore the pumps. She is both detached and human, silent till she wants to say something, and then says it supremely well.

These novels often arrive at the same place: a woman who can’t cope with the demands of family and modern work finds a more flexible arrangement, usually capitalizing on her latent creative or entrepreneurial spirit. The virtues of independence for women are extolled at every point on the socioeconomic spectrum, whether the job is white-collar or not.

If you’re lucky, you’ll end up strenuously disliking a book by an until-now untried author whose work you have in multiplicity. I’m not naming names, but fairly recently I read a fat, exalted novel and had the pleasure of getting rid of it and its shelf neighbors too. This is your grand opportunity to take a position on an author, your stance apparent by virtue of his or her name’s comprehensive omission from your bookshelves. Take that, [redacted].

Happy reading!

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