Literary Hub

Lit Hub Weekly: May 13 – 17, 2019

TODAY: In 1953, James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On the Mountain is published.

  “Could it be that  masculinity itself is a violent ideology  ?”   Lacy     Johnson   on Rachel Louise Snyder and the names we give to violence. | Lit Hub
  On discovering an iconic literary character was inspired by your grandfather  . (  Catch-22  ‘s Yossarian really did live.) | Lit Hub
  “In the whole wide world, there are subjects beyond power and other people besides the right men.” Caroline Fraser on Robert Caro  , great men, and the problem of powerful women in biography. | Lit Hub
  bookmarks
  crimereads
  “It’s learning how to switch off that critical voice long enough to give yourself the time to play, to experiment, that I think is the key to making good work.” Jon Gray on designing the book covers for Sally Rooney, Zadie Smith, J.D. Salinger, and other greats  . | It’s Nice That
  “Although playful, Bullshitters are fundamentally earnest.  I think of them as old epic poets, writers who sum up their culture in voices.” In praise of literary bullshitting  , from Herman Melville to William Gaddis to Gayl Jones. | Full Stop
  “It’s hard to sell a utopian project when the first example that springs to everyone’s mind is Stalin’s Soviet Union”: Sandra Newman on the gradual poisoning of literary utopias  . | The Guardian
  “ [Q:] What is the biggest impediment to your writing life? [A:] Health insurance  .” Xuan Juliana Wang (candidly) answers ten questions. | Poets & Writers
  “This one woman came in, dressed kind of cool, and she was like, ‘Okay, my therapist told me I have to read something that makes me look dumb when I pull it out.’ Obviously she was high-strung.” NYC booksellers on Sally Rooney’s novels and the people who buy them  . | Interview
  According to a new biography, Susan Sontag probably wrote the book that launched her ex-husband’s career  . | The Guardian
  “I had two days to decide what to tell my doctor about whether I wanted to carry a child.” Nicole Dennis-Benn on pregnancy, and motherhood  . | The New York Times
  Nine books that get at the “complexity, trauma, and triumph” of trying to conceive in the face of infertility  . | BuzzFeed
  A former director of Stanford University Press explains the origins of the publishing house’s funding crisis  —suggesting a struggle between humanists and university administration that goes back 30 years. | The Chronicle of Higher Education
  “I feel like I’m the great American crime writer. You can make that case  .” Read a profile of James Ellroy, “the Demon Dog of American fiction.” | 1843
  On the “pernicious, scapegoating effect” of J.D. Vance’s vision of Appalachia  —and the many other voices that should be championed instead. | The Baffler
  “  Belinda Blinked   is writing so bad that it transcends mere constructs of quality   and becomes its own absurdist feat of virtuosity.” On   My Dad Wrote a Porno   and the joy of reading really, really bad sex scenes in literature. | The Atlantic
  “On August 27, Hemingway mailed   La Cossitt   the most remarkable document he ever sent to   Collier’s  : his expense account.” The story of Hemingway’s $187,000 magazine expenses claim  . | CJR
  Hey guys: turns out growing up in a house full of books makes you smarter— even if you don’t read them  . | Scientific American

Also on Lit Hub:

The winners of the 100th annual O. Henry Prize! • The time Samuel Johnson met James Boswell (in a bookstore, naturally) • Some writing advice from Guy Gavriel Kay: whatever you do, don’t take any writing advice • How we find—and lose—women writers • 35 one-star reviews of Mrs. Dalloway from the intrepid literary dissenters of Amazon • On book dedicationsGabriel García Márquez on life in 1950s Paris • Maddie Crum on the rise of self-help books that encourage not much of anything • Jessica Francis Kane on the problem of too much metaphor • Why it’s so hard to write music into fiction • A brief history of queer language before queer identity • Eve Ensler imagines an apology from her abusive father • How Winona Ryder took Susanna Kaysen’s memoir from page to screen • An accounting of which writers have won the most major awards • On translating Mario Levrero, the Kafka of UruguayBruce Smith on poetry in prison and the poetic task of demystification • Inside San Francisco’s plague-ravaged Chinatown, c. 1900 • Pibulsak Lakonpol’s dispatch from a refugee’s no man’s land at the Thai-Burmese border • An oral history of Joy Division • Jonathan Jones on British painting in the 1970s • On Flannery O’Connor’s two deepest loves: mayonnaise and her mother

Best of Book Marks:

Mythic monsters, prison riots, uncanny worlds, and more of the Book Reviews You Need to Read This Week • This week in Shhh…Secrets of the Librarians: OlaRonke Akinmowo on Octavia Butler, Audre Lorde, and the Free Black Women’s Library • Grief is the Thing With Feathers and Lanny author Max Porter recommends five books about being a tree • Bradley sides talks about the brilliance of Toni Morrison and Karen Russell • David McCullough’s The Pioneersvibrant and compelling OR told with a narrow perspective? • New titles from Karen Russell, Max Porter, and Kathleen Alcott all feature among the Best Reviewed Books of the Week

New on CrimeReads:

The Great CrimeReads summer preview is here! Rounding up 100+ of the summer’s best and hottest crime titles • Lilly Dancyger on grief, trauma, and what it’s like to watch true crime as the relative of a murder victim • A look at 20 of the best speeches in crime cinema  • Congrats to the Anthony Award nominees • Nathan Ward on the legendary gangs, outlaws, and cowboy detectives that made the Western the earliest “true crime” sensation •  7 new international crime novels perfect for the armchair traveler • Michael Gonzales on Jim Steranko, the “Jimi Hendrix of comics” • Tobias Carroll on the enduring power of Oakley Hall’s western noirs • Michael Koryta on the art of claustrophobic noir • Wendy Walker asks crime writers to pick the most memorable bad dates in literature • Sean Carswell on the misogynist history of deadly women in noir

More from Literary Hub

Literary Hub5 min read
The Inspired Vengeance of Mythic Icelandic Women
In college, I occasionally wrote short stories. More often than not, the stories revolved around a woman’s reaction to a man’s power in her life. One short story detailed a woman’s emotional response while posing as a nude model for an artist; anothe
Literary Hub5 min read
A Legendary Publishing House’s Most Infamous Rejection Letters
Publishing history is littered with tales of authors who suffered rejection after rejection—often for years—before they finally found a publisher prepared to take them on. Their stories are invoked as encouragement to every struggling writer: persist
Literary Hub12 min read
The Hard, Familiar Truths of Rion Amilcar Scott’s Invented World
It was Rion Scott’s first week as a visiting professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, and by any measure it had been a busy one. He had only been assigned an office the day before, but had already taught his first class and was preparin