Welcome to the weekly Vox book link roundup, a curated selection of the best online writing about books and related topics. Here’s the best the internet has to offer for the week of July 2, 2017.
- Junot Díaz interviewed Margaret Atwood, and it is just as good as you think:
JD: So, have you met Drake?
MA: I haven’t met Drake, but I have of course met people who have met Drake. But you have to realize how o-l-d I am. I’m not likely to go to the same parties. Or many parties at all, to be frank.
JD: I understand. I just think that, Canada—I’ll say this to the whole nation—you are missing a great opportunity to put these two folks together. Have you listened to his music? Do you have any opinions?
MA: Wouldn’t it be fun for him to have a cameo in season two of The Handmaid’s Tale?
- At Granta, Toni Morrison talks about the history of America and reading her books out loud:
The country got started with a labor of Africans – to do work for free and reproduce themselves as more workers. When I did A Mercy, that book was supposed to be just before racism became the letter and the characteristic of the land. It’s just before the Salem witch trials, when they were running around killing people for religious reasons. Religious people got upset about all that, but not about color. But following that, it became this. The ‘healing’ – it was the way in which people got together: white become white. Think about it: If you come to this country from Germany, or Russia, or anywhere, you get off the boat, get on the land. But in order to become an American, you have to be white.
- Milo Yiannopoulos is suing Simon & Schuster for breach of contract. Background for the case is here and here, but it’s most likely a publicity stunt.
- I myself have never much cared for Daphne du Maurier (oh, Maxim de Winter, tell me more about how it’s all your dead wife’s fault that you literally murdered her!), but Parul Sehgal has a beautiful piece in the New York Times about her addictive, propulsive appeal:
Few writers have watched and captured women with such conspicuous pleasure as du Maurier — the way they walk and wear coats and unscrew their earrings. The way they pin up their hair and stub out their cigarettes; the way they call to their dogs, break horses, comfort children, deceive their husbands and coax plants from flinty soil. Few writers (Elena Ferrante comes to mind) have been so aware of how women excite one another’s imaginations.
- A new picture book by Where the Wild Things Are author Maurice Sendak has just reemerged! It will come out next fall.
- At LitHub, Rebecca Stott tells the story of how books helped her and her father survive life in a cult:
When my father won the English prize at his grammar school in 1946 his teachers gave him a copy of Arthur Mee’s Book of Everlasting Things. He was seven. Though only certain books were allowed in Exclusive Brethren homes, my preacher grandfather examined the volume and pronounced it acceptable. “This was a serious mistake,” my father told me. “It would have been far safer to let me read Rover and Beano.”
… “A door opened up in the wall that had been built between me and ‘the world,’” he said, “and I slipped through it.”
This is a dystopia, but also a post-apocalypse. The dystopia survived the apocalypse, nobody can get their head around it—too bad! You can do post-apocalypse things, survivalist stuff, rationing, killing, new tribalism, but you can also go the dystopia route, struggle against the decadent lords and masters, smash the seductive machine that’s controlling your head. Just because you’re crazy doesn’t mean you’re not also stupid, and neither precludes the possibility that you’ve got your boot on the neck of someone even worse off.
- Shhh, no one tell SB Nation that they accidentally published some excellent experimental science fiction, they still think they’re a sports site.