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Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels are coming to television

My Brilliant Friend and The Story of a New Name Europa Editions

This week saw International Women’s Day and the Women’s Strike, and thus much of discourse revolved around feminism — including as it pertains to books and writing. Here’s our weekly roundup of the best the internet has to offer on books and related subjects for the week of March 5, 2017, featuring an extra helping of women-centric discussion.

This idea of feminism as a party to which only a select few people get to come: this is why so many women, particularly women of colour, feel alienated from mainstream western academic feminism. Because, don’t we want it to be mainstream? For me, feminism is a movement for which the end goal is to make itself no longer needed. I think academic feminism is interesting in that it can give a language to things, but I’m not terribly interested in debating terms. I want people’s marriages to change for the better. I want women to walk into job interviews and be treated the same way as somebody who has a penis.

Solnit's writing is discursive in the way of a Bach organ fugue—each seeming tangent resonates thematically, layering in meaning and feeling to gloriously virtuosic effect. It can be astounding to realize that in just two pages she's woven together a Tang Dynasty artist, a Road Runner cartoon, a mythological creator deity, and her mother's complicated emotional state (The Faraway Nearby)—and that you feel moved, intellectually provoked, and elevated all at once.

A week after “Sanditon” came to a halt, Austen wrote, in a letter, “Pictures of perfection as you know make me sick & wicked.” That note of exasperation is worth attending to, as we approach the bicentenary of Austen’s death, this summer. The hoopla will be fervent, among the faithful, and both the life and the works will doubtless be aired afresh on our behalf. In part, however, the shape of that life is defined by its winding down, and by the book—an unsweet and unlikely one, still too little known—that sprang from her final efforts.

I was searching for remedies to writer's block on YouTube when I found a video of Toni Morrison talking about the white gaze — the assumption that the reader is white and the resulting self-consciousness in your thinking and writing. Stories you know to be true and interesting somehow become distorted and unfamiliar. I'd try to write a scene about two kids trying to dine-and-dash, something I'd done, and stop to wonder if I was playing into narratives about "black criminality."

As text is revised, it becomes more specific and embodied in the particular. It becomes more sane. It becomes less hyperbolic, sentimental, and misleading. It loses its ability to create a propagandistic fog. Falsehoods get squeezed out of it, lazy assertions stand up, naked and blushing, and rush out of the room.

Happy reading!

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