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Read Annie Proulx on war, place, and her new book

'Brokeback Mountain' Opera Press Conference in Madrid Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
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 has been a very long, very hard week, oh, my best beloveds. (Even if it was only four days long.) The front page of Vox will keep you updated on what’s going on in the rest of the world, but if you need a break, the world of books is always here for you. Forthwith, the best the internet has to offer on books and related news for the week of July 4, 2016.

  • Meg Cabot has always said that she wants her books to offer an escape to people who are dealing with really heavy things, like the literary equivalent of a bubble bath. So if you need a break from the world, mosey on over to EW to check out an excerpt from her forthcoming book, The Boy Is Back. It’s exactly what you’d expect from the author of The Princess Diaries, and I mean that as the highest of compliments.
  • Alternatively, if it would soothe your soul more to read a poetically furious book review, here is Jennifer Senior on well-known fabricant of facts Jonah Lehrer and his attempted comeback:

In retrospect — and I am hardly the first person to point this out — the vote to excommunicate Mr. Lehrer was as much about the product he was peddling as the professional transgressions he was committing. It was a referendum on a certain genre of canned, cocktail-party social science, one that traffics in bespoke platitudes for the middlebrow and rehearses the same studies without saying something new.

Apparently, he’s learned nothing. This book is a series of duckpin arguments, just waiting to be knocked down.

  • Last year, the Indian writer Perumal Murugan announced that he was “dead” as a creative writer after receiving a slew of death threats and legal charges from right-wing extremists. This week, a judge ruled in favor of his freedom to express himself, the Guardian reports. “Let the author be resurrected to what he is best at,” the judgment concludes. “Write.”
  • American Girl is licensing its book line to Scholastic, which plans to reissue the backlist and expand into nonfiction, reports Publishers Weekly.
  • The world’s oldest working library, al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco, just reopened after closing for renovations in 2012. Tech Insider has pictures.
  • At the Atlantic, Emily Harnett discusses Elena Ferrante’s covers and the visual codes we use for women’s fiction:

The very image of women doing things now strikes even women readers as unliterary.

There’s also a stronger thread of brotherhood that’s running through all of these [military] returnees that wasn’t there after World War II. Those guys were glad to get back and get to their families. The thing now is that there aren’t any jobs, and it seems to be a lot of bad stuff that’s happening—one can almost see it like a thin spool of thread that’s been unstrung and snags each one. It’s a brotherhood of misery. It’s not unlike wood cutters and sailors of an earlier age. All dreadful jobs.

Happy reading!

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