In The New York Times Book Review this Sunday, Jennifer Szalai and Mohsin Hamid tackled the following question: 'Where is the Great American Novel by a Woman?' As Szalai writes:
September 22, 1979
It may seem hard to believe, but at the time of his death 10 years ago, Jack Kerouac was considered a has been, all but forgotten by those who had read On the Road and proclaimed him the king of the Beats. The hippies, the inheritors of the freedom that Kerouac extolled and exercised, had never heard of him—or, if they had, thought of him as one of those old guys who wrote books. He languished in Orlando, Florida—alcoholic, dyspeptic, given to fits of anger against both the Establishment and those who opposed it. Was he a man without a country?
According to the New York Times, the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority is considering, in the future, replacing the current subway trains with ones featuring "articulated train cars." These are in fact the opposite of what they sound like: instead of individuated cars making up a larger train, the train would become, essentially, one long train.
Dr. Paul Offit's battle against charlatanism
Think the government should allow people to medicate themselves and their children however people want to? Think again.
How the idea of genius became the basis for political power
Wendy Lower’s Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields returns the Holocaust to something of its original horror. It is a study of German and Austrian women on the eastern front, and the simple revelation behind their story is that women were no less capable of brutality than men. This might seem banal—the banality of evil across the gender line. Yet Lower’s book is thoroughly shocking. What these women saw and did was shocking. What they believed was shocking.
If you like literature, buy a book
Imagine an arts festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year. It is sponsored by a world-famous newspaper and an assortment of multinational companies. It draws in performers from around the world. Imagine a sort of Glastonbury for the middle-aged, or even a “Woodstock of the mind”. The festival turns over millions of pounds and yet little of that money goes to the performers. Such a thing barely seems possible but that is how most literary festivals work.
Claudia Roth Pierpont is not related to Philip Roth. But you wouldn't know it from her newly published authorized biograpy, Roth Unbound, which will be published October 22. The book is a thorough, intensive, elegant reflection on Roth's career—and it is also so complimentary that one might at times forget that Roth did not write it himself. For example:1.) "Not since Henry James … has an American novelist worked at such a sustained pitch of concentration and achievement."
Over the course of the shutdown, the closure of the National World War II Memorial and its periodic, Bastille-style forcible reopening became a sort of emblem of the whole sordid affair.
Geeks versus the government
This piece originally appeared on newstatesman.com.Let’s get the personal bit out of the way. How did Peter Capaldi do?